Kathryn McKinney



+64 9 920 9267

+64 27 404 0685


Kathryn is involved in both contentious and non-contentious employment work. She provides advice on the full spectrum of employment law, from employment relations, industrial relations and corporate support, through to Holidays Act compliance and conducting employment investigations.

Kathryn has 20 years’ employment law experience, gained at top-tier firms in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, as well as experience advising in a consulting capacity and in-house. She is qualified to practise law in England & Wales, Northern Ireland and New Zealand.

Key Transactions


  • One of New Zealand's largest construction companies on the employment aspects of a significant commercial share acquisition (with assets of circa $300 million).
  • A large New Zealand employer on an investigation by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on minimum entitlement compliance, and advising in relation to an Enforcement Undertaking.
  • A national client on breaches of post-employment obligations and working to negotiate a satisfactory outcome to protect the client's confidential information and commercial interests.


  • A Government entity with drafting change proposals, correspondence and documentation to affected employees and advising on the selection process for assessing and determining who will be made redundant, and who will be offered redeployment opportunities.
  • Raising personal grievances on behalf of a high profile senior executive with regards to constructive dismissal and unjustified disadvantage claims, and negotiating a record of settlement.


  • A client against allegations of serious sexual harassment.


  • Asia Pacific Legal 500, Recommended Lawyer, 2021


Bachelor of Laws (LLB), (Hons), University of the West of England Bristol

Legal Practicing Certificate, University of the West of England Bristol

Admission to the Bar

England and Wales, 1998

Northern Ireland, 2000

New Zealand, 2016

Professional Memberships

Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ), Member

Contributed Articles

  • Returning employees to the workplace

    Vaccination rates are high and we have begun to contemplate herd immunity whilst New Zealand works our way towards the conclusion of the current Omicron outbreak. Employers may now be looking to return their employees to the workplace in lieu of working from home (WFH) arrangements which have been the norm for the last few […]

  • A significant reform to New Zealand’s labour laws: the Fair Pay Agreements Bill.

    The Government has introduced the Fair Pay Agreements Bill to Parliament this week.  The purpose of the new law will be to provide a framework for collective bargaining for industry or occupation wide Fair Pay Agreements’ or ‘FPAs’ that will set minimum employment terms for that occupation or industry group. The new law seeks to […]

  • Are vaccine mandates under threat?

    As we head into the peak of Omicron, vaccine mandates remain highly contentious and the subject of prolonged protests around the country. Rather than joining the protest, three Police and Defence Force workers have convinced the High Court that the order requiring them to be vaccinated should be quashed. The order, which required Police and […]

  • Income insurance in New Zealand – a saving grace or undue burden?

    On 2 February the Government announced the details of a proposed nation-wide Income Insurance Scheme (IIS). The implementation of such a scheme in New Zealand is a significant reform, potentially the largest since the adoption of the ACC scheme in 1974. While the concept itself is not a novel one, with countries such as Germany, […]

  • New law on vaccine requirements in the workplace

    The Covid-19 Response (Vaccinations) Legislation Bill was introduced yesterday and is expected to be passed into law later this week.  The Bill sets out the process an employer must follow to terminate an employee’s employment for failing to comply with a vaccine mandate imposed by the Government or by an employer (after following a health […]