Final 2023 Essential Update

Final 2023 Essential Update – Monday 4th December 2023


In this update:

But, first and most important – keep safe and well over the holidays.  You have well earned any break you get!  Here’s wishing you an amazing 2024.


Fair Pay Agreements

I will continue to monitor these but only at a high level, since I expect the government to stop them.  If they don’t we will have some serious action in the New Year.


Court Case Rulings

Personal Grievances (PGs):  I have had a number of clients question the validity of a Personal Grievance.  What you need to know:

  • An employee has 90 days from when they first know of the event that gives rise to their grievance (12 months if it relates to a sexual harassment claim)
  • They must identify it is a PG
  • It must create the expectation of a response
  • It must be clear as to the substance of the grievance
  • But it can be verbal or in writing

If you are in any doubt at all, please contact us for advice.

Letters of Expectations: I know that we have advised many of you on issuing letters of expectations, generally to put a stake in the ground, where you don’t want to or cannot fairly issue a formal warning.  There has been an interesting case where the imposition of expectations was challenged.  What you need to know:

  • Imposing expectations that are not already in someone’s Employment agreement, job description or policy, will be seen to disadvantage an employee
  • Before you add an expectation that is not already clearly evident, you should discuss it with the employee and get their agreement that it is reasonable

Christmas reminders

The Christmas season brings more complex payroll scenarios. Here are a few things I am being asked (see my last update for other questions):

  1. Need to Change Close Down Dates
    This is the same as changing any other Annual Leave – although you were able to unilaterally impose the closedown, you may not unilaterally shorten or lengthen it. Once it is in place, it is agreed annual leave – and to change it you would need agreement.  It makes sense – once you have imposed it people can book holidays, and they cannot easily be changed.
  2. Paying stat days to those terminating employment before Christmas
    You may understand that untaken annual leave gets “added” to the termination date to determine whether or not the future stat days have to be paid. But it is only untaken annual leave entitlement (i.e. earned before their last anniversary) that extends the final date.  Accrued leave since the last anniversary is actually just an 8% of gross payment – it has not yet become annual leave.

Essential HR’s Christmas Closedown – on-call support

Essential HR will be closed from midday on Friday 22nd December and will reopen on Monday 8th January 2023.

Mike will be on call for urgent matters, but we will be enjoying a break and some family time so we would really appreciate it if you could hold matters until January 8.  If that can’t be done, Mike will be pleased to help.


Essential HR are here to help.  For ongoing help call us on – 03 3650532 (voice messages are automatically relayed to Mike), or you can contact Mike directly on 027 2808546 or

I’m happy for you to pass this on to others.

And if you need to conference call, we are all set up with Zoom.

Need help managing staff?

Mike has a wealth of experience advising on every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. I can give you per-phone guidance or work along side you to make things happen.

Keeping You Posted

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Final 2023 Essential Update

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