Restructuring your business

Consultation is key

New year, new you – new business structure? Restructuring is common in the new year when business owners feel refreshed and ready to take on the next challenge. The process however, is often shrouded in uncertainty (and stress) for employees.

Following the correct procedure for a restructure will allow your employees time to feel heard and to ensure decisions are made in good faith. They need to know your plans so they can ask the right questions and get the required support during a restructuring process.

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Shareholdings for employees or family members

Rewarding value and increasing engagement

Bringing a key employee or a family member into your business by offering them a shareholding can be a powerful motivator and a significant indicator of how much you value their contributions to your success. However, the process should be done carefully with a robust shareholders’ agreement and company constitution, as there are many facets of the company-shareholder relationship that must be agreed upon to ensure a harmonious future between yourself and the new shareholders.

The circle of trust

First and foremost, your shareholders should be people whose values are aligned with those of your business. Even if they are minority shareholders, there are circumstances in which you will have to rely on their good judgement. The easiest way to prevent disagreements down the road is to carefully consider their business sense, character and propensity for confrontation before embarking on shareholder discussions.

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Smooth sailing this summer

Avoid common mistakes when employing summer staff

With summer fast approaching, many businesses will be hiring temporary staff to meet their needs over the busy summer months. Taking on temporary staff can throw up some tricky issues. Employers often are uncertain about what employment agreement is appropriate for temporary staff and how their holiday entitlements should be met. We explore the pros and cons of different kinds of agreements for temporary employees and provide guidance on their annual leave and holiday pay entitlements.

In general, there are two types of employment agreements that can be used for temporary employees:

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Employing people with a past

How the clean slate legislation works

Employing staff is never a simple process. Finding people with the right skills and personality to fit into your team can be challenging. Today’s employers go through a rigorous process when recruiting; most believe it’s better to put time into getting the right person than to have to deal with the consequences if things don’t work out.

One aspect of all staff recruitment is background checks on applicants. This is more important in some roles than others.

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Are restraint of trade clauses worth the bother?

Have an expertly-drafted agreement

Restraint of trade clauses are common in the sale and purchase of a business and in some employment agreements. In a business context, they offer protection to a buyer who has acquired a business and prevent the seller from directly competing against the buyer. A restraint provision in an employment context is designed to protect the employer’s business interests when key employees leave. There’s a general perception that these clauses are difficult to enforce, so why bother?

Non-competition restraint – sale of a business

The purpose of a non-competition restraint in regard to the sale of a business is to ensure that the purchaser is able to retain the benefits of the business they have purchased including existing and potential customers. It prevents the seller from establishing, working for or being involved in a similar business. Non-competition restraints are routinely used in the sale and purchase of businesses.

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The importance of good recordkeeping

Risk of hefty penalties if you don’t

There are plenty of war stories about recordkeeping blunders. Think of offices crammed with paper, ‘lost’ documents, fireplace filing systems and online voids.

Section 194(1) of the Companies Act 1993 requires boards to keep correct accounting records. Records are supposed to ‘speak for themselves’[1] and allow the company’s financial position to be determined at any time with reasonable accuracy. Failure to keep proper records can badly hurt your business.

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Business briefs

Mainzeal case – highlights director responsibilities

The recent high-profile Mainzeal case[1] has highlighted the importance for directors to know and understand their duties under the Companies Act 1993.

Four of Mainzeal’s directors were found liable for $36 million in damages for breaching section 135 of the Act which is headed ‘reckless trading’. This section prohibits directors from agreeing to cause or allow the business of the company to be carried out in a way that is likely to create substantial risk of serious loss to the company’s creditors.

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The Wellbeing Budget 2019

As expected the government’s The Wellbeing Budget, presented by the Minister of Finance, the Hon Grant Robertson, on 30 May focussed very much on mental health and child wellbeing.

The wider economy was looked after with increases in funding to KiwiRail, the establishment of a new venture capital fund, investment in science and research, and so on.

wellbeing

The government has indicated that New Zealand’s economy is in good shape, despite some softening of the global economy.

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Postscript

Drones: know the rules

In our Winter 2017 issue, we published an article Up in the Air: Using your drone which gave some guidelines on using drones. With drones becoming more common, for both personal use and for business purposes, we thought it worthwhile reminding you of the law surrounding their use.

drones

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has rules regarding the piloting of drones to help minimise any risk to the public. Civil Aviation Rules (Part 101) have provisions that you must adhere to when piloting a drone that weighs under 25kg; most drones are under this weight.

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Wiping the slate clean

The seven year itch

The Clean Slate Act or clean slate scheme, more formally and correctly known as the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004, became law almost 15 years ago. The rationale behind the legislation was to enable people who had certain convictions to put their past behind them without the stigma of a permanent conviction. Having a criminal record can have far-reaching consequences for employment, immigration, voluntary work and various other matters.

What the legislation means

The Clean Slate Act limits the effect of convictions if certain criteria are satisfied. If it has been seven years since you were convicted, you will be considered to have no criminal record and can state this to anyone who asks.

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