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Partners are also entitled to use the paid parental leave, if the mother transfers part of her entitlement

Paid parental leave increases: will the PM miss out?

January, 2018

Paid parental leave increases are coming this year - will the Prime Minister be eligible?Congratulations to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford on the news that they are expecting their first child in June.

Will that mean they're eligible for the extra paid parental leave that was passed by Parliament last year? Probably not–though there's a slim chance it might work out that way. Their case is a good way to learn about eligibility for the increase.

The paid parental leave increase

On 1 July 2018, the the current paid period of 18 weeks will extend to 22 weeks. Then on 1 July 2020, it'll move up to 26 weeks.

Keeping in Touch days will also increase. Keeping in Touch days allow employees to work now and then throughout their paid parental leave period without losing any of their paid leave entitlement. Total hours allowed under Keeping in Touch will increase from 40 hours to 52 on 1 July 2018, and from 52 to 64 on 1 July 2020.

So with a due date in June, it's unlikely Ardern and Gayford would be eligible–the changes only come into effect from 1 July.

But there is a small chance it could happen...

Who's eligible for the paid parental leave increase?

Partners are also entitled to use the paid parental leave, if the mother transfers part of her entitlement

Partners are also entitled to use the paid parental leave, if the mother transfers part of her entitlement

People currently eligible for paid parental leave will be eligible for the increase. That's expectant mothers, spouses or partners (if the mother transfers any entitlement), and primary caregivers of a child under six, such as adoptive parents, grandparents, and other permanent guardians.

A parent, spouse or caregiver will be eligible for the increased leave if:

  • the baby is due to be born on or after 1 July 2018, even if it is born prematurely before 1 July
  • the baby is due to be born before 1 July 2018, but is born on or after 1 July

The same criteria will apply to the increase in 2020.

So while the Prime Minister is due in June, should she have a late delivery on or after 1 July, she would be eligible for the extra four weeks.

But as she plans to return to work after 6 weeks, that would leave 16 weeks left over. What would happen with those?

She could transfer those to her partner. Partners are entitled to use any entitlement if the mother transfers it. That would mean 6 weeks for Ardern, 16 weeks for Gayford.

Do businesses need to do anything to prepare for the extra paid parental leave?

Not a thing! Businesses will not need to provide any extra leave, because they're already required to provide 26 or 52 weeks unpaid parental leave (depending on the employee's status - see more at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment). The new period of paid leave will fit within either of these periods.

Need any advice on what you need to do?

Whether you’re an expectant parent, someone becoming a primary caregiver, or an employer, we can take you through the ins and outs of leave, and any other employment or legal issues. It’s all pretty straightforward, but it’s important you get it right. Contact David Ballantyne or Holly Weston.

Are Your Terms of Trade Giving You the Protection You Think?

August, 2017

This is a question that Justice Nation was somewhat indirectly asked to decide in his recent decision in Thorn v United Steel Ltd [2017] NZHC 1865.

The background can be set out relatively concisely. United Steel Ltd (“United Steel”) was approached by Mr Thorn to provide steel to one of his companies. As you would expect, before United Steel agreed to provide the steel, it required Mr Thorn to sign a comprehensive credit application that set out United Steel’s terms of trade, and provided for him to guarantee and provide security for his company’s trade account.

United Steel’s terms of trade were in a relatively standard form. They contained a clause under which Mr Thorn agreed to provide, as security for his company’s account, all rights, title and interest in any property he held, either alone or jointly, and authorised United Steel to lodge a caveat against the property and appointed United Steel to be his attorney for this purpose.  United Steel’s terms of trade went a step further, and extended to Mr Thorn authorising United Steel to act as his attorney to create a mortgage charge on his property if the caveat was not possible or if the mortgage charge was necessitated to protect United Steel’s interests.

Not surprisingly, when the company’s account became in default, United Steel instructed its solicitors to lodge a mortgage against Mr Thorn’s interest in his property, and its directors signed an Authority and Instruction form to that effect acting under the power of attorney given to United Steel by Mr Thorn.

While it was not raised in Mr Thorn’s application, his Counsel submitted that the combined effect of s 12 and 157 Land Transfer Act 1952 and s 9 Property Law Act 2007 required the appointment of United Steel as Mr Thorn’s attorney to be by deed, and that, as Mr Thorn’s signature to the credit application form was witnessed by an employee of United Steel, it was not a valid deed, and could not be relied upon by United Steel’s director for the purposes of signing the authority and instructions (“A & I”) form for its solicitors to register the mortgage.

Justice Nation agreed with the submission and held that United Steel could only authorise the electronic registration of the mortgage over Mr Thorn’s interest in the property if it had been appointed as his attorney by deed, and that, as the terms of trade were not executed as a deed, the mortgage was invalidly registered.

In the decision, there was no question about whether United Steel had the right to register a caveat. Ultimately then it is not clear what impact this decision will have on the ultimate outcome of the case and Mr Thorn remained liable as a guarantor.

However, there are some timely lessons to be learned for any entity that has a similar provision in their terms of trade.

  1. Ensure that the customer’s signature is not witnessed by employees, but an independent witness;
  2. Ensure there is adequate provision in the terms of trade for witnesses to sign as witness and state their name, occupation and location;
  3. Ensure that the customer is delivered a copy of the signed terms of trade; and
  4. Ensure you have an adequate process or checklist in place for ensuring that your terms of trade or credit application is properly signed and witnessed before providing credit or goods.

 

If you think your terms of trade might need updating, please feel free to get in touch with us. Contact either Clive Cousins or David Ballantyne.

Litigation: an electronic future?

September, 2016

The Higher Courts have recently introduced a Civil Electronic Document Protocol (12 April 2016) as a guide to Counsel and the Courts. The Protocol is intended to encourage and facilitate the use of electronic documents for civil cases in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

The Protocol is perhaps the first steps in moving towards an electronic future where all filing an case preparation is done electronically. Under the Protocol parties are expected to prepare an electronic case book that is consistent with the Protocol’s format requirements.

The protocol will allow counsel to file electronic submissions and authorities that are hyperlinked to the record. This will result in an expedient and straight-forward exchange of information between the parties and the Court. We see this as a positive step for our clients as it is expected to decrease the costs involved in litigation in the Higher Courts.

As a technologically advanced firm we are ready to embrace the new protocol and are taking all the steps available to educate ourselves. For more information on the Protocol please contact David Ballantyne and Holly Weston at Canterbury Legal.

Construction Contracts Act 2002: New Amendments – Are you in the know?

September, 2016

Earlier this year, Parliament introduced a Bill to update and amend the Construction Contracts Act 2002. If you are in the construction industry there are several proposed changes that may impact you. The key changes proposed by the Bill are:

  • Removing most differences between residential and commercial contracts, including requiring the same disclosures for commercial payment claims as for residential payment claims
  • Expanding the Act’s scope to cover the work of engineers, designers and quantity surveyors
  • Updating and clarifying the adjudication procedure.

At Canterbury Legal we aim to educate our clients around the pitfalls of the construction industry and how you can make changes in the law work for you. If you think these key changes might impact you please contact Clive Cousins or David Ballantyne for more information on how you can take preventative measure to ensure your business adapts to the proposed amendments introduced by the Bill.

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