Over The Fence


Over The Fence: Paid parental leave changes ahead, Upcoming employment law changes, Minimum wage review 2016 and New property taxation legislation.

Paid parental leave changes ahead

The government has made some changes to paid parental leave, with others to follow. It’s important you know how this will affect your staff and business.

From 1 April 2016, staff who have worked for you for six months or more will be entitled to 18 weeks of government-paid parental leave, an increase from 16 weeks. For help with staff entitlements click here. The calculation is based on:-

  • The baby’s due date
  • How long you have employed the staff member
  • Their average pay, and
  • How many hours they work.

Parents of premature babies will also receive longer parental leave payments.

If you are self-employed, you can use the calculator to work out your own entitlements.

Upcoming employment law changes

More employment law changes are proposed this year. Last year the government announced a number of other measures designed to strengthen the enforcement of minimum employment standards. The Employment Standards Legislation Bill is yet to be passed. We will update you on the Bill’s progress in the next edition of Rural eSpeaking.

Minimum Wage Review 2016

This year’s minimum wage review has seen the adult minimum wage increase from $14.75/hour to $15.25/hour. The starting out and training minimum wage will increase from $11.80/hour to $12.20/hour. All these new rates come into effect on 1 April 2016.

We recommend you review all wage and salary structures to ensure your employees are paid at least the minimum wage at all times for hours worked.

It’s well known that farm work fluctuates throughout the year. You must ensure that your employees are receiving at least the applicable minimum wage rate for any hours worked at all times. This is the case even when your employees are paid a salary. This may mean an employee’s pay needs to be topped up at certain times of the year to ensure they are paid at least the applicable minimum wage for the hours worked. Keeping and maintaining accurate time and wage records is vitally important.

New property taxation legislation

Since 1 October 2015 transferors and transferees of property have been required to complete a Land Transfer Tax Statement in order to complete settlement. These provisions don’t apply to Agreements for Sale and Purchase that were entered into before 1 October 2015 as long as the transfer is registered prior to 1 April 2016. From 1 April 2016 these provisions will apply to all transactions.

The only exception to completing a Land Transfer Tax Statement is if the transfer relates to Māori land as defined by  Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993, or if the transfer is part of the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process. Overseas transferors and transferees must provide their IRD number equivalent for that country (eg: Australian Tax File Number) as well as their New Zealand IRD number.

There is an exemption for the ‘main home’, if the following criteria are met:

  • Transfer involves the main home
  • Main home exemption has not been used more than twice in the last two years
  • Party to the transaction is a natural person, and
  • Party to the transaction is not an offshore person.

All trusts must have their own IRD numbers whether they are a transferor or transferee. That includes non-income generating ‘passive trusts’ that own the main home, regardless of who is in occupation. Inland Revenue has advised that its processing time for IRD number applications is 8–10 working days. Please note that this does not include postage times.

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