Employment NZ offers advice on the obligations of the Employer. Good employment relationships start with a good recruitment process so that the employee and employer have the same expectations about the role and working conditions.

It’s important for employers to use good hiring processes, and for everyone to follow minimum rights and responsibilities.

Employment agreements have the terms and conditions of employment. Every employee must have a written employment agreement. A well written employment agreement helps the employee and employer to know what is expected from them and what they’re entitled to. This means misunderstandings are less likely to happen and if a problem does come up then the employee and employer can go to the employment agreement to clarify things.

Find out more about employment agreements here.


Clear workplace policies and procedures support employment agreements and mean everyone knows how things are meant to be done. This link provides help in some key areas.


You can now learn about your responsibilities and rights as an employer through a free interactive website. The website has been created by Employment New Zealand, which is part of MBIE.

As an employer, you can learn about:

Knowing your legal obligations will help you avoid misunderstandings with employees and any financial penalty that might result.

You can also refer your staff to the employee modules so they can learn about their rights.

Registering is quick and easy, visit Employment New Zealand.


The Government’s Apprenticeship Support Programme was announced 18th June 2020. This programme will fund four initiatives to help employers to retain and bring on new apprentices.  

  1. The Apprentice Boost Initiative is a $380.6 million broad-based wage subsidy to for employers to help you keep existing apprentices and employ new ones. It will be available to employers in all industries who have formal apprenticeship schemes for at least 20 months. Amounts will vary depending how far through an apprentice is in their training but if you have apprentices in a recognised New Zealand scheme you will get up to $12,000 per first year apprentice and $6,000 per second year apprentice. This initiative will be delivered by the Ministry for Social Development and will be available from August 2020. Further details will be available soon on how to apply for the subsidy.
  2. Funding for the existing Mana in Mahi programme, which helps employers provide on-the-job support for employees, is being expanded by $30.3 million in new funding. This will enable the programme to provide 24 months of support per participant (up from the current 12 months), and to provide an increased wage subsidy amount of up to $16,000 per first year participant, and up to $8,000 per second year participant. Additional pastoral care and other support will also be provided on top of this wage subsidy amount. The programme is delivered by Work and Income and if you think you have an opportunity to support someone, visit Manu in Mahi.
  3. The seven existing Group Training Schemes will be supported by a $19 million fund to ensure they remain viable following the Covid-19 lockdown. This will enable the schemes to continue to employ apprentices and trainees and provide related services to host businesses, where those businesses (mainly construction-related) are unable to support their apprentices. This scheme is delivered by the Tertiary Education Commission.
  4. The Regional Apprenticeships Initiative is a new regional apprenticeship scheme which will invest in new apprenticeships in regional New Zealand and particularly support displaced workers and Maori and Pacific peoples into jobs. More details on this will be released shortly.

As an employer you will be able to access support from one of the above support programmes (except the Group Training Schemes fund which is not available for individual employers) and this will depend on the type of apprentice or pre-apprentice trainee you employ. If you have laid off an apprentice, you can rehire that apprentice and then receive support from Apprentice Boost.

All employers who have an apprentice will be able to receive a base subsidy rate up to $12,000 per annum for first year apprentices and $6,000 per annum for second year apprentices through the Apprentice Boost Initiative. Mana in Mahi and some Regional Apprenticeships participants will get a higher subsidy to reflect the different level of need of individual apprentices (or pre-apprentice trainees) involved.

 For more information you can visit Work and Income.