Welcome to 2016 and already the month of March is knocking at the door.
We started the year off again with the lead Legal issues as being financial, family and employment matters. This generally is a normal pattern, post – Christmas but for some reason our statistics are showing a much larger increase – a sign of the times perhaps?
January saw much planning and work on creating Lunch time law at the library topics, organising speakers and material for each session. Many thanks to our intern Emma who beavered away on this project - we are all organised up to June. There are some new topics organised, check out the list below or our website: www.commlawmarlb.org.nz.
Community Law Marlborough has recently become an approved provider of FDR (mediation) services. FDR is part of the Family Justice system delivered by the Ministry of Justice. CLM has three approved providers of the FDR who are all accredited mediators. Our mediators have been approved under the Family Dispute Resolution Act 2014 and have backgrounds in a range of child and family related services.
CLM is approved to provide this service to clients who do not qualify for funded or partially funded FDR. In line with our philosophy of Access-Empowerment-Justice, we aim to ensure everyone has access to mediation in care of children disputes. As such we use a sliding scale of fees for those parties who do not qualify for a funded service.
If you need FDR please feel free to phone or make an appointment to see how we can assist.
Lunch Time Law at the Library is continuing this year. Already we have covered topics in employment law including dismissal whilst incapacitated by illness or injury and unjustified dismissal and personal grievances.
These sessions are at the Marlborough District Library
on 33 Arthur Street, Blenheim.
From 12.10pm to 12.50pm
Neighbour disputes are always a topical issue and in March we have two sessions, the first dealing with trees and neighbours on Wednesday 9 March and then on Wednesday 23 March lunch time law will cover fences and neighbours.
Many of these sessions will be hosted by guest presenters who are expert in these areas of law, so make sure you get along to the Marlborough District Library to have all your questions answered on these topical issues!
Immigrants and NZ tax system Part I - Wednesday 13 April
Immigrants and NZ tax system Part II - Wednesday 27 April
Maori land – transfer of land by succession Wednesday 11 April
Maori land – five types of Maori land trusts Wednesday 25 April
If you miss out on any of these sessions please feel free to make an appointment to discuss the topic with one of the CLM caseworkers.
In addition to the lunch time law program our youth worker Stacey has developed a 6 week course specially for youth due to run in the next month or so, more information about this will be sent out shortly.
HOT TOPIC – Employment Law changes
Currently the Employment Standards Legislation Bill is before parliament.
The purpose of this legislation is to strengthen enforcement of employment standards.
This will occur through the introduction of significantly higher penalties for the most serious breaches of minimum standards. Repeat offending employers, or employers who commit serious breaches risk having their names published by the Employment Relations Authority or the Employment Court.
Serious or persistent breaches of minimum employment standards could find individuals facing the possibility of being banned as a manager.
Record keeping will be targeted with changes aiming to allow flexibility around the format for records, provided they comply with the law. Clear cut breaches will incur an infringement notice with a maximum penalty of $1000 per breach up to a maximum of $20,000.
The Employment Standards legislation aims to enhance the tools labour inspectors will have available to them to carry out their role of investigating and enforcing breaches of minimum standards. Infringement notices as above, are an example of this. In addition, information sharing powers will be enhanced between Labour Inspectors and other government agencies such as Immigration New Zealand, IRD and the Companies office. Labour Inspectors will also have authority to request any record or document from the employer relevant to the Labour Inspector’s investigation of alleged minimum standards breaches.
Currently employment standards cases that come before the ERA are automatically directed to mediation. Once the changes come into effect the more serious breaches will be capable of being resolved at the ERA or the Employment Court in the first instance. Cases may still be directed to mediation, but this will more likely occur where there are other employment relationship problems complicating the issue of minimum standards breaches.
Another significant change will be the ability for employees to seek penalties for breaches of minimum standards legislation. Currently this option is only available in regard to wages, under the Wages Protection Act 1983.