I have a question regarding safe working hours in New Zealand. Its not for me but for my husband. He is an electrician

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Customer: Good Morning.
JA: Hi. How can I help?
Customer: I have a question regarding safe working hours in New Zealand. Its not for me but for my husband. He is an electrician in Auckland.
JA: Have you talked to a New Zealand lawyer about this?
Customer: not yet
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: nothing. we are afraid of taking steps because he cant afford to loose is job right now.
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Customer: ok thank you
Answered by Chris The Lawyer in 12 mins 2 years ago
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Hi
I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today. Please give me a minute to read the question

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Under the Wages Protection Act a worker cannot be forced to work more than 40 hours a week. Beyond that the worker must agree. There is a safe workplace issue if the worker is working too long hours because they can get tired and cause accidents, or injure themselves

Customer
Ok. my husband went to work yesterday morning at 6:30 then returned home at 17:10 and had to go back to work at 20:30. It is now 08:46 the following day and he has still not returned home. It has been more than 26 hrs since he has last slept. If he mentions the hrs to his supervisor they tell him, he is welcome to leave. We are here on a work visa so cant afford to not have a job.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

That is definitely unsafe working conditions. It is difficult when you are on a work visa, but electricians can get jobs relatively easily. Does his visa permit changing jobs?

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

If he told them he could not work those hours, and they fired him, that would be an unfair dismissal, but the work visa is a problem. But the exploitation of someone vulnerable is not good, and they could be fined

Customer
his work visa allows change of job.
Customer
does he have the right to refuse to work these hours?
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

If those hours are affecting his health he should move to another job where he is treated better. But the Wages Protection Act says he cannot be asked to work more than 40 hours a week

Customer
ok thank you for your help. i think searching for a new job is the only option as this is affecting his health, home life, children and marriage.
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

I cited the wrong act-its the Minimum Wage Act which says

11B 40-hour 5-day week

(1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), every employment agreement under the Employment Relations Act 2000 must fix at not more than 40 the maximum number of hours (exclusive of overtime) to be worked in any week by any worker bound by that employment agreement.

(2) The maximum number of hours (exclusive of overtime) fixed by an employment agreement to be worked by any worker in any week may be fixed at a number greater than 40 if the parties to the agreement agree.

(3) Where the maximum number of hours (exclusive of overtime) fixed by an employment agreement to be worked by any worker in any week is not more than 40, the parties to the agreement must endeavour to fix the daily working hours so that those hours are worked on not more than 5 days of the week.

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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

He can share this with his employer, who should know this anyway

Customer
Ok thank you. because this has been going on since level 1 has been activated. I appreciate your help. have a noce day
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Chris The Lawyer, Expert

Thank you for the reply and for using this site. You may ask further questions or rate this answer when you are ready.

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