Employers also have some other specific obligations when negotiating individual agreements, and this applies both to existing employees negotiating new agreements (or changes to an agreement) and to prospective employees.

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However, an individual agreement must include the following terms: An individual agreement can’t include any terms that are contrary to the law or inconsistent with the Employment Relations Act.

If your employer breaches any of those requirements for your individual agreement, you (or a labour inspector) can ask the Employment Relations Authority to order your employer to pay a monetary penalty.

If you’re a new employee and you’re covered by a collective agreement, your minimum terms and conditions of employment will be those set out in the agreement.

As an individual you’ll also be able to negotiate additional terms.

Employment Relations Act 2000, s 66 In certain cases you and your employer can agree to have a fixed-term employment agreement – that is, one that will end on a specific expiry date or when a specific event occurs or when a specific project is completed.

A fixed-term agreement is allowed only if: An employee and an employer can agree to a casual employment relationship, where the work is intermittent and irregular.You’ll need to show that what happened amounted to “unfair bargaining”, which means either: You’ll also need to show that your employer was aware of the relevant situation, or should have been aware of it.The Employment Relations Authority can make whatever orders it thinks is appropriate, including ordering your employer to pay you compensation and, in some cases, amending or cancelling your agreement.You have legal rights as an employee even if you don’t have a written employment agreement, because a verbal agreement between you and your employer is still legally binding.The terms and conditions of your employment relationship will include: Employment Relations Act 2000, ss 56(1), 62 If there’s a collective agreement in your workplace when you start work and you already belong to the relevant union, then you’ll be covered by this agreement automatically.However, it must include the following terms: A collective employment agreement can’t include any terms that are contrary to the law or inconsistent with the Employment Relations Act.