Do I still need a trust?

It’s good practice to review its purpose

If you have a family trust set up a number of years ago, it’s good practice to review it to ensure it is still ‘fit for purpose’. Leading on from that is the question that is often asked of us, “Should I bring my trust to an end?”

Trusts are still very useful arrangements, and there is usually a good reason why you established a trust in the first place. If that reason no longer exists, however, then it may be sensible to think about alternative arrangements.

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Business Briefs

Workplace culture crackdown

The recent #metoo movement has drawn worldwide attention to workplace harassment. The New Zealand government has responded by collecting data about workplace harassment through confidential complaint lines and signalling clear expectations of New Zealand workplace culture.

Harassment may never be totally stamped out. However, your business can take steps to minimise harm and create a safer environment for your staff. These include:

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Receivership of construction companies

Protecting your property and getting paid

In light of Ebert Construction’s recent receivership, not taking protective measures opens subcontractors up to recovery and enforcement issues. If you are a subcontractor, you should think about how to prevent your tools and equipment (including cranes and scaffolding) from being seized and sold by a receiver, and to ensure you have the best chance of getting paid.

Protecting your tools and equipment

The first step to take is very practical. If you can, always take your tools and equipment home with you each night. When a construction company goes into receivership, the receivers lock the gates to the relevant construction sites which prevents you from collecting your tools and equipment.

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Second thoughts

What happens when your employee wants to retract their resignation?

We all know that people can sometimes say things in the heat of the moment which, on reflection, they didn’t really mean. What happens when your employee quits suddenly, perhaps by storming out of your workplace as a result of a disagreement? As an employer, can you take this as a resignation? What happens if your employee has a change of heart and wants to return to work?

Most employment agreements will provide a notice period that any employee must give when they want to end their employment. This allows you some time to find a replacement and make arrangements for the handover of work.

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Over the fence

The Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018

The Animal Welfare Act 1999 provides for offences and penalties for serious animal abuse or neglect.

In May 2015 the government amended the Animal Welfare Act enabling regulations to be made on matters such as animal care and procedures performed on animals.

The Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018 are the latest set of regulations to be issued; they were issued in March 2018. Most of these regulations will come into force in October this year. Examples include the prohibition of the use of traction in calving cows and the requirement to ensure that dogs transported on an open deck or trailer of a moving motor vehicle are secured to prevent the dog falling off or hanging off.

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Postscript

ONEcheck – a useful tool for new business

When you’re starting a business, one of the first things you think of is its name. This is a big decision as, ultimately, your brand is built around the name of your business.

There’s an easy way to check existing business names using ONEcheck. You can search for possible business names, associated domain names and trade marks, as well as the recent addition of searching social media. ONEcheck gives clear explanations of the difference between a registered business name, trading name and trade mark, guidance on how to best protect your brand and much more.

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Questions you shouldn’t ask job applicants

An employment minefield

In the lead-up to the 2017 election, broadcaster Mark Richardson caused an uproar when he asked the then Leader of the Opposition, Jacinda Ardern, if she had plans to have children. The commonly-held view was that this question was outrageous. While a broadcaster has the liberty to ask a range of questions, an employer or potential employer cannot ask this.

Job interviews can be a challenge for both employers and applicants. There are varying opinions on the best way to interview applicants and which questions will help you ascertain if someone is the right fit for your workplace.

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Business Briefs

Is your business infringing existing intellectual property rights? Do your homework.

A trade mark can be a valuable asset which can help your business to develop a reputation in the market and distinguish your goods and/or services from others. It’s risky, however, to not consider existing third party intellectual property rights before you start to trade.

There would be nothing worse than finding the perfect location, deciding on a business name and launching into trading, only to receive a letter six months later to say that your business is infringing existing third party intellectual property rights, and that you must stop using it immediately. In most situations the only way forward is to re-brand and potentially lose your existing goodwill and customer recognition.

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Compensation for emotional harm in the workplace – trending upwards

Compensation awards for employees who have suffered emotional harm in the workplace have traditionally been low, which has been favourable for employers facing claims by employees.

emotional harm

Recently, however, compensation amounts have increased and are achieving greater consistency for employees. Employers now, more than ever, need to treat their employees properly to ensure they do not face significant compensation awards for personal grievance claims.

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A no surprises Budget

There are few surprises in the government’s 2018 Budget presented on 17 May, the first from Minister of Finance, the Hon Grant Robertson.

Treasury has forecasted economic growth of about 3% per year on average to June 2022, with our economy projected to grow at a rate faster than that expected for New Zealand’s major trading partners.

The Minister has played safe with cautious spending in key sectors, buoyed by its inheritance from the previous government of a strong fiscal position.

Operating from a healthy economy, the government has focused its spending in the health, education and housing sectors.

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