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7 Proposed Changes to Workplace Relations Under Labour

Published November 02, 2017 (last updated March 9, 2023) - ANZ Head of Legal Services

A New Government in New Zealand

The final outcome of the New Zealand election is a Labour-led Coalition with support from NZ First and the Greens. How will this impact small businesses and employers across the country?

Removal of 90 day trial periods

A huge shift is on the cards for business owners with Labour proposing to remove 90 day trial periods. Employers already struggle to implement these correctly as it stands, but the option to trial staff could soon be removed completely.

Doubling of Labour Inspectors

Labour Inspector numbers will double to 110. This significant increase shows enforcement is clearly the focus of the regulator and that all employers need to understand the basics of employment conditions in New Zealand.

Minimum wage increase to $20.00 by 2020

Increasing minimum wage to $16.50 an hour by April 2018 and an increase to $20.00 an hour by 2020. Minimum wage is a pain point for every business owner, and managing the change on the first day of the new financial year is always a busy time for our Advice line.

Fair Pay Agreements

A key piece of the Labour Party’s workplace relations package has been to develop and introduce a legislative system of industry and sector collective bargaining. This system is intended to allows unions and employers, with the assistance of the Employment Relations Authority, to create Fair Pay Agreements that set minimum conditions, such as wages, allowances, weekend and night rates, hours of work and leave arrangements for workers across an industry based on the employment standards that apply in that industry. Arguably, this is a a step towards the Modern Award system in place in Australia.

Paid Parental leave increase

A commitment was made during the campaign to increase parental leave from 18 weeks as it currently stands, to 26 weeks by 2020.

Changes to redundancy provisions

Consultation is to start on changing the minimum redundancy provision protection for workers. Recommendations made back in 2008 have been identified as the basis on which to change the provision, but no specifics have been outlined.

Abolish youth rates

The Labour Party has announced they intended to remove youth rates of pay, which has also been endorsed by their Coalition partner NZ First.

For any concerns or questions, call Employsure’s advice line on 0800 568 012

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Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small and medium businesses, with over 5,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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