The New NZ Governments Proposed Changes in Employment Law and What This Means for Employers and Employees

The New NZ Governments Proposed Changes in Employment Law and What This Means for Employers and Employees
Article contributed by Sarah Spencer
Written on 12 November 2017

The New NZ Governments Proposed Changes in Employment Law and What This Means for Employers and Employees

 

With the new Labour led coalition, there are many changes coming into place in regards to new policies and policy changes.

Within the first 100 days Labour proposes to overturn National's 90 day trial period where employers have the right to 'fire at will.' Section 67 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 deals with Probationary Argreements. The new Labour government set to change ss67A and B, so that employers no longer have the right to dismiss employees unfairly in the 90-day trial period without the employees being able to bring a claim. The new legislation will hand over rights to employees to bring a case against employers where they feel they have been unfairly dismissed during their trial period. These will be short hearings without lawyers and decisions such as reinstatement or damages of up to a capped amount may be rewarded.

Changes are also set to be made in regards to parental leave, extending the parental leave statutory period of 18 weeks to 22 weeks by the 1st of July 2018 with the aim to eventually extend this to 26 weeks by the 1st of July 2020. This could see a stronger need for temporary staff in firms or an increase in fixed term contracts.

Jacinda also plans on raising the minimum wage from $15.75 to $16.50 per hour, by April 2018 with the goal to raise this gradually to reach a minimum wage of $20 per hour by 2021.

Reinstatement will also revert to being the preferred remedy where an employee has a personal grievance in the workplace.

Will Jacinda's goal to increase fairness in the workplace work or is it too employee focused?

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