Security officers – a vulnerable employee

The Government has passed an order to include certain employees who provide security services in the ‘vulnerable employee’ category of the Employment Relations Act 2000 (including cleaning, orderly, caretaking and laundry services).

The order will take effect from 1 July 2021.

Why do we have ‘vulnerable employees’ under the Employment Relations Act?

Vulnerable employees are considered to be at greater risk of losing their job, as their services are often sold, transferred or contracted out.

The Act seeks to protect those employees to ensure greater certainty of employment.

What does this mean?

If, as a result of a proposed restructuring:

  • The vulnerable employee will no longer be required by the employee’s employer to perform the work performed by the vulnerable employee; and
  • The work performed by the vulnerable employee (or work that is substantially similar) is to be performed by or on behalf of another person,
  • The vulnerable employee (amongst other things) has the right to transfer across to the new employer on their existing terms and conditions.

This means that if an employer intends to terminate a contract with their security services provider, the new contractor may have to take on the existing security services employees, meaning that the same employees may be providing security services to your business, but through a different company.

If this new order could affect you or your business, don’t hesitate to get in contact with a member of our Employment Team to discuss this further.

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