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Vulnerable employees extends to Security Guards

Published 24 Jun 2021

From July 1 2021 'Security Officers' will be included in the definition of 'vulnerable workers' under the Employment Relations Act.

A Security Officer is considered to be someone who:

  • guards real or personal property
  • monitors premises on site (e.g. via CCTV)
  • controls crowds at events
  • escorts prisoners or perform courtroom custodial duty
  • undertakes mobile patrols, or
  • collects cash from premises (e.g. banks, retail stores).

It explicitly excludes:

  • private investigators
  • security technicians
  • security consultants
  • confidential document destruction workers
  • repossession workers
  • personal guards
  • court security officers
  • police officers
  • corrections officers

Vulnerable employees have additional protections in law if the company for which they work undergoes a restructure, in the form of sale, transfer or contracts out services. Such staff have the right to transfer over to a new employer under the same terms and conditions and this is considered continuous employment with the new company.

Currently 'vulnerable employees' are considered the following:

  • cleaning services and food catering services in any place of work
  • laundry services for the education, health or age-related residential care sector
  • orderly services for the health or age-related residential care sector
  • caretaking services for the education sector.

Although this employee protection provision has been in place for many years, this is the first time we've seen the list of industries and roles added to in this way.

Part and parcel of these provisions is that employers have to follow very specific rules when these restructuring circumstances take place in terms of timeframes, notices and employee rights. Please contact us for more infomation if needed.