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# 182531 20-Oct-2015 08:52
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Hi all,
I'm wondering if you might be able to provide any advice on the following situation:

A friend of mine has been employed with a company for the past few years as a permanent, fulltime employee.  My friend works in two locations within Auckland - 3days a week at one site, 2 days at another.  Their employer wishes to split the job into two positions and have one part-time employee at each location.  (Same duties, same number of hours per week at each site, though the proposed working times at each site are different)  Their employer has stressed that it is not a "performance" issue.  They want my friend to chose one of the part time roles, and advertise to fill the other.

My (layman's) understanding of NZ employment law is as follows:
 * An person's employment contract cannot be altered unless both parties agree to the changes.
 * A redundancy must be for a genuine business reason.

Now, my friend does not wish to transition into a part time role.  This seems to suggest that their employer will need to make them redundant from their fulltime, permanent position in order to effect the change that they're looking for.

But if they do so, and then immediate seek to fill the vacancy created with two part time positions, is this still a "genuine" redundancy, or have they left themselves open for a personal grievance claim?

Thoughts?  Advice?

Thanks in advance :-)

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mdf

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  # 1409708 20-Oct-2015 10:40
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First and last word will always be consulting a lawyer with expertise in the field. Employment law is pretty specialised.

With a huge degree of oversimplification, the majority of the rules in the area are more process than substantive. i.e. as long as the employer follows the right process, they're usually okay. It's not the law's role to interfere with legitimate business decisions (it's their business, after all), just the process that is followed. But again, this is hugely oversimplified.

There is some information on MBIE's website that may or may not be useful.

In addition to lawyers, your friend may have access to one of the employee support services like EAP.

Your friend should also have a think about what they want - do they want to keep their current job at all costs (including potentially alienating the current employer - and depending on just how far the relationship breaks down, maybe settling for a cash payment), or could this be an opportunity to move on to something new and interesting? References and reputations do count. 

But lawyer lawyer lawyer lawyer. The right one can add a huge amount of value.

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  # 1409729 20-Oct-2015 11:21
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I'd personally start by reinforcing seeking professional advice. 

Secondly, I would STRONGLY recommend sitting down, in a reasonable, calm and assertive manner, and asking for a more detailed explanation of why the change might be occurring. It's entirely possible the reasons are perfectly legitimate and as an employer, I am happy to talk to my staff about potential changes that may affect them. Not all businesses are out to screw their staff. I don't think
it's healthy the number of people who assume such in this day and age.

Once the facts and proposal are in hand, then your friend can decide what they want out of the situation, and whether they can get it there, or not. 

I have found with employment matters, a reasonable approach from all parties, usually results in a reasonable outcome. 

I'd suggest your friend put aside any anxiety and approach this with an open mind.  Make sure they get a reasonable nights sleep the nights before the meeting. I do understand how scary these matters can be.

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