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Snap shots in Employment Law

New Drink Driving Limits

On 1 December 2014 new legislation reduced the legal breath alcohol limit from 400mcg (micrograms) per litre of breath to 250mcg per litre of breath and the blood alcohol limit from 80mcg of alcohol per 100 mls of blood to 50mcg per 100 mls of blood.

If you are an employer who has employees that are required to drive during the course of their employment, you provide them with a vehicle, or if you provide alcoholic drinks during work organised social functions, this new law may impact your business. For example, an employment agreement may require an employee to notify their employer if convicted of a criminal offence. However, as the infringement notice for failing an evidential breath test with a reading below 400mcg of alcohol per litre of breath will not be a conviction, employees may argue that they are not obliged to inform their employer. This may in turn have implications for your vehicle insurance.

Employers should consider updating the drink driving provisions in their employment agreements and drug, alcohol and vehicle policies to ensure that expectations are clear and that the risk of drink driving to your business is properly managed.

Health and Safety

The Health and Safety at Work Act will come into force this year. It introduces a “single primary duty holder” (PCBU – Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking).

The Act imposes a positive duty of due diligence on those in governance roles (ie: directors) to actively manage workplace health and safety. This means that those people in control will need to understand the hazards and risks associated with the company or business operations and to ensure that they have proper processes and policies in place to protect their employees and also to ensure duties for managing risks are complied with. A PCBU will be required to take all reasonable practical steps to eliminate or minimise a specific risk.

Those in governance roles should carefully consider what they know about health and safety in the company or business they are involved with and how to manage it.

January 2015

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