Having fair and decent workplace practices allows employees and employers to know how things are meant to be done. This supports higher productivity and overall well being in the workplace. Fair and decent workplace practices are found in workplace policies, by engaging more positively with employees and by making sure that the workplace is healthy and safe for all.

What are workplace policies ?

There are many ways to induct and train employees on the rules for their workplace. Each workplace may have their own set of rules as long as they respect the minimum terms and conditions as prescribed by law. For better compliance and understanding, it is strongly recommended to involve employees in the consultation and adoption of workplace rules and policies.

Rules in the workplace can be provided in policies, procedures, guidelines, staff manual and regular training sessions.  These should be reviewed regularly to ensure that they are aligned to the ongoing activities in the workplace.

One essential document that needs to be kept in the workplace is the Wages, time and leave record. ( section 51, ERA 2012).

An employer must keep a record, in english, containing the following information for each employee employed by the employer :

  • Employee’s name, age (especially if it s a young worker), address and contact details.
  • Date on which employment commenced
  • Job title
  • Type of employment agreement ( individual or collective) and details thereof.
  • Hours of work and rate of pay, method of calculation
  • All leaves entitlements and dates on which they are taken and paid
  • Proof of payments

This information is confidential but can be accessed only by the concerned employee, by a representative of the concerned employee and an inspector.

How to engage more positively with employees ?

A productive workplace starts with a positive culture where employers and employees work successfully and progressively together. Employee performance can increase through fair and transparent employee engagement. In return, this will contribute directly to the workplace’s goals and successes.

Employee performance appraisals

Setting expectations and having clear communication with employees is essential in stimulating performance. 

Employees are more productive if:

  • They understand clearly what they are required to do and how to do it;
  • They participate and contribute in decision making around their roles;
  • They are rewarded and recognized for achieving their goals.

Employers are successful in managing their employees’ performance if :

  • They offer clear guidance and right tools and resources to the employees;
  • They often follow up and engage with the employees on improvements happening;
  • They give opportunities to their team for career growth.

Employers and employees who work proactively together will save money and time on managing performance issues and disputes, focusing instead on results and business.

How to maintain a healthy and safe workplace? 

Employee performance can also considerably increase in a healthy and safe workplace. A preventative approach to workplace health and safety (WHS) leads to avoiding or reducing workplace related ill-health and injuries, in turn contributing to profit making and better business performance.  WHS deals with the events, circumstances, exposure to substances, dangerous conditions, or other risk factors in work processes, trades or occupations, or otherwise arising from work activities that could cause occupational ill-health. This means that WHS focuses on the risks that could cause occupational ill-health, not just reacting to incidents when they occur.

The ERA 2012, part 7 deals with WHS and provides for a general duty of care for both employers and employees.

In addition to the ERA 2012, part 7, the Cook Islands is currently drafting a whole new set of legislation on workplace health and safety and workers compensation.

The policies forming the basis of this reform can be downloaded here. 

Final draft WC policy 110119

Final draft overarching policy 110119

Final draft OHS policy 11012019

Policy-WHS Regulations 080620

Policy -WC Regulations 080620

For any latest progress update on the reform, contact the labour and consumer office, 29370 or [email protected]