Pro Legal

Is 2024 the year of the work life balance?

With an ever-changing market, it’s time for employers to embrace changes in the status quo and actively recruit employees for part- time, fixed term, and casual roles. The options There are opportunities for an employer to promote flexibility for employees who are looking to return to the workforce or move away from the 9 to 5. An employer can consider recruiting for part-time, fixed term, and casual roles.

These positions allow employers to access a larger demographic of potential employees, who for various reasons may not be able to commit to full-time traditional hours of work.

Your responsibilities

There are standards to uphold when you offer an employment contract to a new employee.

Some of the terms vary dependent on the position, specifically the entitlement to annual leave, sick leave and bereavement leave. At minimum, you must provide a written employment agreement including:

  • The names of the employer and employee.
  • A description of the work to be performed, an indication of the place of work, and an indication of the hours of work.
  • The wage or salary rate, and how it will be paid. Employees over 16 must be paid minimum wage.
  • An explanation of how to resolve employment relationship problems.
  • An explanation of public holidays, annual leave, sick leave, and bereavement leave.
  • An explanation of family violence protections, and parental leave.
  • A statement regarding rest and meal breaks (dependant on hours worked).
  • Any other matters that are agreed on (including a potential trial period).


A part-time role is generally less than 30 hours per week. This is ideal for employers who have roles available that do not necessarily require 40 hours a week.

In the age of a thriving social media presence, hospitality and retail businesses are actively promoting sales and events on apps such as Instagram or TikTok. To do this effectively, many businesses hire a ‘social media manager’ in a part time role. Another example are hospitality businesses who only need extra staff for busy nights of the week. Part-time roles are an economical way to manage gaps in staffing and reduce the risk of turnover in employees.

There are struggles in hiring part-time workers, but these can be managed by effective leadership and communication. It may be difficult to build a team culture and strong relationships, and other workers may struggle to understand the reasoning and benefits of variable roles. Regular work social events, ensuring everyone knows each other’s roles and responsibilities, and that they are a valued part of the team may be a way to counteract this.


Fixed-term employment is encouraged in situations where there is a specified end date. Examples include cover of parental leave, a new project, or seasonal work. This must be a genuine fixed-term position, not a pretence for a probationary period. These terms must be written in the employment agreement. Benefits of this position allow you to employ workers for a fixed amount
of time and bring them onboard for a specific job. For example, the horticulture sector in Hawke’s Bay is substantial, so fixed term employment for seasonal work is ideal.

Economically this is beneficial, however it can be a challenge to build a tight-knit team culture when your employees have a fixed end date with the company, so it is important to keep this in mind.


Casual workers have no expectation of work, no regular pattern, and no guaranteed hours. This is ideal for employers who are looking to manage unexpected or unplanned surges in work (an example being a Christmas holiday period). As soon as a casual worker enters a regular pattern of work with regular hours, their position will become permanent, and your obligations regarding annual leave, sick leave, and bereavement leave will change. Casual workers will typically not have the same loyalty to your business, and this may be a stepping stone for some employees whilst they look for their next role. This is not a cost-effective option if you spend significant time and effort onboarding them.

The answer

To ensure your business is running at its most efficient, an employer must recognise the benefits of flexible employment arrangements and how they can best be incorporated. Ensure you are mindful of your responsibilities and be proactive when onboarding new employees.

About Christine Symes

Christine is the Managing Director of Bramwell Bate. Born and raised on a farm in Southland, Christine graduated from the University of Otago in 2000 with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce. After working in law firms in Napier and Dannevirke, Christine joined Bramwell Bate in 2020. Her areas of expertise include conveyancing and property law, company and commercial law, Trusts, estates and succession planning. Outside of work, Christine enjoys the Hawke’s Bay lifestyle with her husband and three sons.