Blog Post

latest news from employers assistance

Employment Agreement Update June 2023

Published 20 Jun 2023

The Employment Relations (Extended Time for Personal Grievance for Sexual Harassment) Amendment Act 2023 (‘the Act’) has extended the timeframe to raise a personal grievance for sexual harassment from 90 days to 12 months.

New Employment Agreements need to reflect this.

The concept being that sometimes it takes a victim a lot longer to come to terms with conduct associated with situations involving sexual harassment and the extended timeframe is appropriate in those circumstances.

A victim of sexual harassment now has 12 months in which they can raise the claim from the date the sexual harassment occurred or came to the employee’s attention, whichever is the later. The personal grievance is then raised in the usual way.

The deadline for other personal grievance claims, e.g. unjustified dismissal, unjustified disadvantage, etc remains 90 days, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

There is no obligation on employers to update existing employment agreements nor necessarily communicate this change to existing staff. However, new staff and Employment Agreements need to know and reflect this change in writing since all agreements are required to have a clear and plain explanation of how to get help to resolve employment relationship problems, including the operative periods for raising personal grievance claims.

The Act does not apply retrospectively, meaning if the sexual harassment occurred prior to this amendment taking effect, the victim only has the standard 90 days to raise their claim. Going forwards – for sexual harassment claims – the 12 month period applies regardless of what is written in an older employment agreement.

All our Agreement templates have been updated accordingly to comply.