Stabicraft, Southland

Work in Southland

Settling in to your new job

The Southland workplace

Southlanders have a ‘can-do’ attitude when it comes to working and enjoy contributing to the organisation's development and success. 

The size of the average Southland business is small by international standards, meaning you may have more involvement across a wide range of business activities, with managers adopting an informal leadership style.

Social interaction is encouraged and many organisations have social clubs that encourage staff to mix and get to know each other outside of work hours. 

If you're new to working in Southland, the following tips may be of some help: 

  • New Zealanders can speak very fast and use a lot of information language (slang). Don't be afraid to ask your colleagues to slow down and explain any words you do not understand. 
  • It's normal to address your manager by their first name.
  • Teamwork and building relationships with your colleagues is important
  • You may be left to work without close supervision so be sure to ask questions if you are unsure. 

You can test out your New Zealand workplace communication skills at Work Talk, an online tool  designed to  improve communication between New Zealand employers and new migrant employees. 

Test your skills here

Your employment rights

New Zealand has a comprehensive set of employment laws that help keep workplaces fair for both employees and employers. It's important to remember that migrant workers have the same rights as New Zealand workers. The rights include the following: 

Employment agreement

Before starting a new job you must sign a written employment agreement or contract. If there’s something in your contract you’re not sure about, you can take the agreement away to think about, or to ask someone for advice. If you want to negotiate the terms and conditions of your contract, make sure you do it before you sign.

Types of pay 

There are different ways to be paid when employed including wages, salary, commission, and piece rates. The type will be specified in your employment agreement. 

You can find out about pay (including minimum wage) hours of work, record keeping and what breaks you are entitled to here

90-day trial peiod

An employer with 19 or fewer employees can use a trial period for up to 90 days as long as this is agreed in the written employment agreement before the employee starts work. It is not necessary to accept a trial period, but if you do, it must be agreed to in writing before you start work. If you want to negotiate, talk to your employer before you sign the contract.

You can learn more about 90-day trial periods here

Health and Safety 

Health and safety is important in New Zealand and both you and your employer are responsible for making sure your workplace is a safe environment. Your workplace should have a health and safety plan, with details outlined in your employment agreement.  

If you have questions about your employment rights, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment has a number of resources available. If you want further advice, contact a local employment lawyer or the Community Law Centre.

Getting help and support in your job

Starting a new job can be overwhelming, especially if you have recently moved to New Zealand from overseas. If you are having concerns with your new employment, the first point of contact is your employer. 

If you feel uncomfortable talking to your employer or feel you may be being exploited, there are a number of other ways you can seek help including getting in touch with: