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While New Zealand employers are obligated to pay workers based on agreed upon employment contracts, the coronavirus pandemic may give them an out. So reports Human Resources Director.

coronavirus 4817431 640smallEmployers would violate the country’s Wages Protection Act if they fail to compensate their employees. Without written consent, employers are not allowed to cut their workers’ pay, and, in general, employers are required to pay workers on their payroll if they are ready, willing and able to work, even if there is no work available.

Despite the legal requirements, if employment contracts include a ‘force majeure’ clause, this may free the employer from having to pay workers or keep them on. Such a clause applies when external events, like a pandemic, “renders the employment agreement impossible to perform,” employment lawyers from Buddle Findlay note.

“If an employer can’t sustain an employee because there is no work, or they are suffering financially from the effects of coronavirus, there is no obligation to maintain that employment,” according to the law firm. “However, an employer’s good faith obligations require a fair process to be carried out and consultation in good faith.”

Read the full article from Human Resources Director.

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