What laws have changed recently?
While the last few months have been a busy time for law changes, the good news is we’ve done the hard work for you by making sure that your ComplyWith content library is up to date with the latest changes.
You can read more about these and other changes in Updater in your ComplyWith.
Below is a summary of some of the key law changes since our last newsletter.
- On 12 June 2019, changes to the Employment Relations Act expanded the circumstances when an employee is discriminated against in their employment to include the employee’s union membership status.
- 1 July 2019 saw a raft of changes to various laws including the KiwiSaver Act, the Residential Tenancies Act, and the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice. You can read more detail about these below.
- Changes to the National Code of Practice for Utility Operators’ Access to Transport Corridors came into force on 15 July 2019.
- The English language proficiency requirements for international students of institutions other than universities in the NZQF Programme Approval and Accreditation Rules were changed on 1 August 2019.
What's coming up?
Some of the key upcoming changes include:
- More changes to the Residential Tenancies Act come into force on 27 August 2019. Tenancy agreements will be required to include insurance information, and there are new provisions about when tenants are liable for damage and landlords entering premises to test for methamphetamine.
- Local authorities must have completed safety checks on their existing core workers by 1 September 2019.
- The Trusts Act 2019 is now law. It will replace the Trustee Act 1956 when it comes into force in January 2021.
Employees who are 65 and over can opt-in to KiwiSaver
Changes to the KiwiSaver Act mean employees who are aged 65 and over can now opt-in to KiwiSaver. Compulsory employer contributions are not required for these members.
Members who join from 1 July 2019 can make withdrawals as soon as they turn 65 as the 5 year 'lock-in' period has been removed for these members. Compulsory employer contributions won't be required once they turn 65.
Residential rentals must have underfloor and ceiling insulation
There’s been lots of publicity in the media about the changes for residential rentals -some accurate and some not so accurate. Here’s a summary of what’s changed in this area:
- Ceiling and underfloor insulation that meets the requirements in the Residential Tenancies (Smoke Alarms and Insulation) Regulations must now be installed in all residential rental properties.
- The Residential Tenancies (Healthy Homes Standards) Regulations came into force but landlords have until between 1 July 2021 and 1 July 2024 to comply depending on when the tenancy was made and whether it is an income-related tenancy. More information about the standards is at Healthy Homes Standards.
- Tenancy agreements made, varied, or renewed on or after 1 July 2019 must include a signed statement that the landlord will comply with the healthy homes standards. From 1 July 2020, that statement must also include information about the current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards.
- Further changes on 31 July 2019 specified that the insulation statement and healthy homes standards statement can be combined (with the landlord signing once to confirm both statements).
- Landlords must keep sufficient records to show compliance with the healthy homes standards.
New requirements for the pastoral care of international students
Some of the more significant changes to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice were:
- New requirements for monitoring and managing agents
- A new prescribed process for safety checks on residential caregivers
- Transfer plans are required for international students who are under 18 years
- Contracts of enrolment must now include information about disciplinary action and procedures, and disciplinary action must be in line with natural justice
- The definition of residential caregiver was expanded to include a manager of accommodation that is operation by a tertiary education provider and mainly used for the accommodation of students enrolled with that provider.
New information sharing provisions
New information sharing provisions were added to the Oranga Tamariki Act to allow certain organisations to share information for specific purposes relating to the well-being and safety of children and young persons.
Agencies must share information when requested by Oranga Tamariki, a care and protection coordinator, or the police.
Information sharing provisions were also added to the Family Violence Act. They include a new obligation for certain agencies and practitioners to consider disclosing personal information about a family violence victim or perpetrator if this may protect a victim from family violence, or when requested by another agency or practitioner.
More information is in Information sharing and Information sharing guidance.
Still more 1 July changes (in brief)
- Family violence replaced domestic violence when the Family Violence Act came into force. Family violence is defined more broadly than domestic violence, but the employer’s obligations to an employee who is affected by family violence are unchanged. Domestic violence leave is now called family violence leave.
- The staged implementation of the Children’s Act (previously the Vulnerable Children Act) continued. Safety checks of every children’s worker (core and non-core) must now have been completed (except for local authorities and organisations funded by them which have longer transition periods).
- The wholesale and retail gas levies were decreased by the Gas (Levy of Industry Participants) Regulations 2019.
- The new threshold and rebate for the rates rebate were set by the Rates Rebate (Specified Amounts) Order 2019.
- The Local Government Members (2019/20) Determination 2019 replaced the 2018 determination.