Mike was a farm worker who decided this season to make the move into contract milking.

As part of his new contract with the farm owner he was required to employ a full time worker to help him on the farm.

Mike met Dan at the rugby club, decided he would be perfect for the role and offered him the job on the spot.

On Dan's first day on the job, Dan asked Mike where his employment agreement was.
Mike managed to make a copy of a mate's permanent employment agreement and gave it to Dan to sign at the end of Dan's first day.

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Mike was a bit taken aback when Dan refused to sign it and said to Mike that he wanted to take it away and get some advice about it.

Mike was even more surprised when Dan turned up the later in the week with an unsigned agreement.

Dan said he had been to see his lawyer and his lawyer had pointed out a few things that should be changed. Some of these were:

1. The 90 day trial period clause should be removed because Dan had already worked for Mike before his employment agreement was signed, which invalidated the trial period clause;

2. The hours of work that Dan was required to work under the agreement in light of the salary that Dan was being paid meant that Dan was being paid less than the minimum wage, and this meant that the agreement was in breach of the Minimum Wage Act 1983;

3. The clause that prohibited Dan from working in another job should be removed or changed because as of April 1, 2016 clauses prohibiting secondary employment are unenforceable, unless the clause sets out the reasons why, which must be genuine and reasonable;

4. The clause that set out that Dan would be paid his annual leave of 8 per cent each fortnight should be amended as pay-as-you-go annual leave clauses are only available to employees on casual employment agreements or fixed term agreements of less than one year;

5. The clause that allowed Mike to deduct the entire unworked portion of Dan's final pay if Dan failed to give the required notice under the contract should be changed to give reference to Court decisions which have set out that an employer can only claim actual losses suffered by the employer as a result of the employee failing to work their notice period, for example the cost of hiring another worker;

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6. The agreement should include a clause setting out what Dan's entitlement to Domestic Violence Leave is and how he goes about claiming it from Mike if needed.

The examples above are ones that we see regularly.

To ensure that your employment agreements are up to date with the law, or to get advice about your employment agreement before you sign it, contact your lawyer.