As a professional, I understand the importance of providing useful and informative content to readers. In this article, we will explore the rules and regulations regarding fixed-term contracts in New Zealand and answer the question: How long can you be kept on a fixed-term contract?
Firstly, it is important to understand what a fixed-term contract is. A fixed-term contract is a type of employment contract that is set for a specific duration, usually for a project or a seasonal work. They are different from permanent contracts, which have no end date and are ongoing until terminated by either party.
According to the New Zealand Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA), fixed-term contracts can be for a maximum of 5 years, including any renewals or extensions. The law also states that an employee cannot be on a fixed-term contract for more than 5 years without the employer providing a genuine reason for the contract to continue.
The ERA sets out that a genuine reason includes situations such as:
– The work is genuinely temporary or seasonal
– The employer has a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds, such as a project with a set deadline or a specific event
– The employer is filling in for a staff member who is absent, or has temporarily increased demand for work
– The employee is being trained or gaining work experience
– The employee has limited competence and the employer has provided training or development opportunities
If the employer cannot provide genuine reasons for the contract to continue beyond the maximum 5 years, the employee is entitled to a permanent contract.
It is important for employers to remember that they cannot avoid providing a permanent contract by repeatedly renewing or extending a fixed-term contract unless there is a genuine reason for the extension. Employers who are found to be in breach of the ERA in this regard may be subject to penalties and fines.
In conclusion, if you are on a fixed-term contract in New Zealand, it cannot last for more than 5 years without a genuine reason for its continuation. If the employer cannot provide a genuine reason for the contract to continue, the employee is entitled to a permanent contract. Employers should also be aware of their obligations under the ERA to avoid penalties and fines.
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