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Employment Law Changes Today

Employment Law Changes Today

Posted May 06, 2019
Business

Employment law changes coming into effect today will restore protections for working New Zealanders, strengthen the role of collective bargaining, and promote fair wages and conditions, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

“The Government is committed to building a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy that delivers good jobs, decent work conditions and fair wages,” says Iain Lees-Galloway

“Late last year we passed legislation to provide additional protections and rights for workers. The most noticeable change coming in today for many workers and employers is the return of the right to set rest and meal breaks, and the end of 90-day trials in businesses with 20 or more employees.”

Key changes coming into effect today include:
reinstating prescribed meal and rest breaks
strengthening collective bargaining and union rights
restoring protections for vulnerable workers, such as those in the cleaning and catering industries, regardless of the size of their employer
limiting 90-day trials to businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

“The Government believes everyone deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, and these changes will help achieve that. They strike the right balance, providing strong safeguards and rights to workers, while maintaining certainty and flexibility for employers.” 

Iain Lees-Galloway today also released an updated Code of Good Faith in Collective Bargaining, as agreed by business, union and government representatives.

“The Code of Good Faith gives employers and unions guidance on good faith, and is used by the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court. The changes in this latest version, though largely technical, will ensure consistency between the current code and the updated law,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.

 National’s Workplace Relations Spokesperson Scott Simpson disagrees with Iain Lees-Galloway saying, trade unions will gain even more power as a result of the new laws.

“New trade union friendly laws pushed through Parliament last year mean powerful and increasingly militant trade unions will become more aggressive than they have been over the past 18 months.

“The changes mean trade unions will have greater influence in the day to day running of businesses. There are a raft of new rules and regulations employers are having to grapple with. All the changes add confusion, complexity and cost. None of them improve productivity.

“Reports of businesses using a ‘sinking lid’ are increasing. When people leave or retire they are simply not replaced. Employers are looking for ways to minimise the negative impacts of these changes and having fewer staff is one of those.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They are already struggling as trading conditions weaken across the country and typically small businesses don’t have access to their own in-house HR resource or advice.