Negotiating employment contracts 101

Ensure you read your employment contract in full.

While the focus of your time at Auckland Institute of Studies should be on your education and growing knowledge base, many students dedicate a percentage of their week to external work. Regardless of whether this employment is in your area of learning or not, it can provide some much needed income for rent and food, as well as giving you the chance to experience the New Zealand way of life.

If this sounds like something that you could be interested in, it is important to recognise the value of an employment contract. In contrast to many countries, New Zealand has strong employment laws designed to protect both employers and employees. Additionally, every job should be covered by a contract, according to Careers NZ and Employment NZ.

As such, here is our guide to negotiating good working terms.

1) Read before you sign

While it might be exciting to be offered a position, remember to take your time before signing to ensure that your working conditions are how you expect. In many cases, you will have a few days to read over the document so talk to friends and family about the contract and come to a decision.

Of course, one of the major elements of a contract will be around hours. Depending on the employer, some businesses will offer a fixed number of hours per week, while others may provide a flexible working hours policy – make sure you know how many hours you are signing up for.

Please remember if you are on a student visa you are only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week and full time during any school holidays.

Do your research before signing your employment contract.Do some research before signing your employment contract.

2) Think about your study

This point follows on closely from the previous one. While there are a number of benefits to working while studying, you don't want your employment to hinder educational progress.

3) Earn a reasonable wage

The adult minimum wage is $15.25 per hour

As mentioned above, New Zealand has strict employment laws and one of these is around minimum wage. The adult minimum wage is $15.25 per hour – applicable to all employees aged over 16 years.

You can't be paid less than this figure, so make sure your contract reflects a fair and reasonable wage. If you are unsure of the wage or rate, highlight this to your potential employer before you sign on the dotted line.

For more assistance around gaining part-time or full-time employment, feel free to get in touch with our Student Careers Centre today.