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Insight, news and updates from Alliott NZ Chartered Accountants, Auckland New Zealand. The views expressed here are the views of the author and should be discussed in further detail should an article be relevant to your individual circumstances.

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NZ’s employment law landscape set to change

Written by Vanessa Williams on November 6th, 2017.      0 comments

The Labour Party’s campaign manifesto states it would:

  • Flag of New Zealand-462Replace the 90-day trial period framework with a new trial period system;
  • Pay all workers in the public sector at least the Living Wage;
  • Increase the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour and base future increases on the real cost of living for people on low incomes;
  • Extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks;
  • Restore reinstatement as the primary remedy for employees who have been unjustifiably dismissed; and
  • Reform collective bargaining in New Zealand.

The Labour Party’s campaign manifesto also proposed that within the first 12 months it would:

  • Begin consultation on improving minimum redundancy protections for workers affected by restructuring;
  • Introduce statutory support and legal rights for ‘dependent contractors’;
  • Investigate options for ensuring that people who work over 40 hours a week receive adequate remuneration;
  • Increase the number of and resourcing for Labour Inspectors;
  • Introduce Fair Pay Agreements that set “fair and basic” employment conditions across an industry; and
  • Investigate measures that improve job security for people in precarious forms of employment (e.g. labour hire, casual, seasonal, contracted or sub-contracted workers).

The Green Party proposed to:

  • Implement annual adjustments in the minimum wage to ensure that it equates to no less than 66% of the average wage;
  • Increase protection for casual, seasonal, fixed term, temporary and event-based workers;
  • Introduce statutory protections for independent and dependent contractors;
  • Establish a minimum statutory entitlement to redundancy compensation;
  • Establish a task force to investigate the economic and social effects of a 35-hour working week; and
  • Extend entitlements to paid sick leave and bereavement leave, and establishing a separate domestic leave entitlement.

The New Zealand First Party proposed to:

  • Increase the minimum wage to $20 per hour;
  • Review the practice of ‘short-term’ employment contracts;
  • Ensure that hiring New Zealanders is a priority; and
  • Ensure enough workers are being trained in the area of aged care to cope with New Zealand’s ageing population.

It is likely we will see a mixture of the above proposals (or variations thereof) implemented in the coming years. Employers will need to be alert to these proposed policies and be ready for change and we will be there to assist as needed.

Related reading: Fresh eyes on NZ recruitment

If you would like to talk with Ross Henderson about a recruitment requirement or any other HR or employment law project please call 027 294 0301 or email Ross at hrman@ihug.co.nz.
 

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