Recruiting Top Talent in New Zealand

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New Zealand Top Talent

Recruitment can be a tricky business, especially when a company is venturing to unfamiliar countries and exploring new markets. This is where you need a specialist to come in oversee the process for you – Bradford Jacobs’ expertise and over 20 years of experience the in international recruitment services is indispensable for expansion into New Zealand.

Our comprehensive knowledge of all New Zealand employment sectors and understanding of the culture and customs guarantee an untroubled transition.

The Recruitment Process in New Zealand

A foreign company expanding into New Zealand does not require the assistance of a local entity to hire their employees. It is, however, vital to your recruitment efforts to know where you can find the right talent, as well as which local and international employment organizations they can collaborate with to access the right talent pools. This, however, does not come easily – and once the right employee is found, the employer must follow thorough staffing and registration procedures. These include:

  • Registering with the Inland Revenue Department
  • Registering employees with Kiwi Saver for social security contributions
  • Creating employment contracts and translating them to English and Maori.
  • Applying for employees’ employment invitations and work permits
  • Applying for employee’s visas or special expatriation status (if applicable).
  • Calculating employees’ monthly salary and creating payslips.
  • Researching for any available tax-free allowances or benefits.
  • Submitting wage tax returns and national insurance forms.
  • Corresponding with the involved parties (organizations, trade unions, etc.).
  • Creating annual accounts, financial administration, and year-end statements.
  • Creating a payment schedule for wage tax, national and social insurances, and net wages.

The recruitment process requires time and dedication, and how can you find these things in the array of all these complicated tasks? Well, allow us to provide the answer – by engaging an Employer of Record (EOR) such as Bradford Jacobs. By acquiring our services, we can convert your New Zealand expansion goals into an action plan with a few simple steps:

  1. Bradford Jacobs steps in as an EOR and acquires the right employees, ensuring they comply with New Zealand’s employment contracts, payroll, HR, tax, visa requirements, and work permits (if required).
  2. We manage all work-related registration formalities, whilst you have daily control of your employees.
  3. The employees must complete their time sheets and expenses claims and we invoice you, the client. Once paid, we deduct all contributions to the New Zealand authorities and transfer the balance into employee’s account.

Within a few days, your company has international presence in New Zealand – in a prime position to explore further expansion without risking the expense or hassle of setting up your own subsidiary or branch office.

Legal Checks on Employees in New Zealand

When commencing the recruitment process in a foreign country, employers should consider their legal obligations. Local law in New Zealand requires employers to implement equal treatment in the workplace and protect employees against discrimination based on several characteristics such as race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and political beliefs, amongst others.

This equal treatment and anti-discrimination also apply to recruitment. When in the recruitment process, background checks may be requested by employers, but they can only be done with the consent of the prospective employee.

Legal checks are governed by the Privacy Act (2020) in New Zealand and puts responsibility on agencies and organizations about how they must protect individuals’ information when given. These checks that employers can make on prospective employees include:

  • Criminal record checks – Employers can get an applicant’s relevant criminal history from the Ministry of Justice or vetting information from the police, but only if the applicant agrees to this in writing. Applicants will also be asked if they have any previous convictions or a criminal history, and it is stressed that they must answer honestly.
  • Previous names check – An applicant can be asked for any previous names for a thorough criminal and/or credit check. These details can only be used for a lawful reason, and if all applicants are being asked. These details cannot be used for reasons such as trying to find out if the applicant is a transgender person.
  • Drugs and alcohol tests – In safety-sensitive workplaces, per-employment testing is used by employers to show that they are serious about managing the risks of alcohol and drugs. Stating the need for these tests in job advertisements is also recommended, to ensure that applicants are aware of this from the start. In cases of these tests, it is best to wait for the results before making a job offer. Employees may also be required to submit to alcohol or drug tests if this is a condition of their appointment and recorded in their employment contract or another document.
  • Credit checks – credit checks of applicants are only required for work that involves financial risk and must be done with the applicant’s permission. Credit checks should also be limited to short-listed applicants.

Employment history checks – these are standard checks which are normally done with references from previous employment.

Basic Facts on Hiring in New Zealand

  • An employer’s questions during an interview must be related to the skills and other matters relevant to the capability and suitability of the applicant to the role. Questions relating to the personal lives or questions based on discriminatory intent are prohibited.
  • For advertising vacancies, private sectors do not have to advertise unless they have a specific requirement in employment agreements or workplace policies, whilst many public sector employers are required by law to notify the public of a vacancy to ensure that suitably qualified applicants are aware of the vacancy. Public sector employees must then appoint the applicant best suited for the position.
  • Terms and conditions of employment in New Zealand are governed by legislative labor laws.
  • For onboarding employees, you will need certain documentation: the employment contract, a working visa (for non-residents), a copy of a license or qualification for the job (if required), bank account details, contact details of the employee, training documents, code of conduct, etc.
  • Employers must follow anti-discrimination laws throughout the process of recruitment, which prohibits discrimination on a number of bases, such as racial origin, sex, age, financial status, disability, health status, family status, nationality, sexual orientation, membership of a trade union or other organization representing employee’s interests, and type of employment relationship.
  • In New Zealand, employment contracts must be concluded in writing for every employee, and minimum employment rights must always be complied with, even if they are not included in the employment contract.
  • Collective agreements also play a significant role in employment conditions – collective bargaining with trade unions is gratified with these unions and cover all employees that are part of the corresponding trade union.
  • Administration and enforcement of employment regulations are governed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
  • There is a 30-day rule in place concerning employment contract terms with collective agreements. For the first 30 days of work, an employee must be engaged under the terms and conditions that are consistent with the applicable collective agreement (if one is in place).  It is important to note that the employee does not need to part of the trade union for this trial period to take place. An employer and employee may also agree on more favorable terms than the ones that are in the collective agreement. After the 30-day trial period ends, the employee and employer must revisit the employment agreement. If the employee has not become a member of the trade union that is responsible for the collective agreement, then both sides can negotiate and agree on different employment terms and conditions in an individual employment agreement.
  • Employers must at least meet the minimum wage for the employee’s salary, but the average monthly salary may differ according to the industry and sector.
  • There are no overtime rates in New Zealand. Employers are, however, obliged to pay the same rate for overtime work of employees.
  • In a week, employees are entitled to 2 rest days.
  • Employers are obligated to with-hold and pay employees’ personal income tax and social security contributions monthly.
  • The standard notice period for employment termination is one month – however, this may vary according to the employment contract and cannot exceed one year.
  • The probationary period is generally agreed upon between the employer and employee but should not exceed 3 months.

Termination of employment during the trial period/probation also requires a notice period.