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Essentials Update

Employment Law ChangesOctober 8, 2018

Essentials Update

New Legislation Introduced to Address Pay Equity

The New Zealand government marked the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage by introducing new legislation aimed at addressing the pay gap between men and women. The goal of the Equal Pay Amendment Bill is to make it easier for workers to make a pay equity claim by simplifying and streamlining the process within the existing bargaining framework.

  • The proposed framework uses the existing bargaining process in the Employment Relations Act, which many businesses will be familiar with.
  • It was developed jointly with unions and business groups.
  • The dispute resolution process is the same as that for other employment relations matters.
  • The government plans to provide support to small business through MBIE’s information and advice services, like Business.govt.nz and Employment New Zealand.

The proposed legislation focuses on keeping the process out of the court systems. The goal is to provide resources for mediation rather than push the parties into an “adversarial court process” which is counter-intuitive to building good business relationships.

WorkSafe New Zealand Board Gets a New Chair

Ross Wilson has been announced as the new Chair of the WorkSafe New Zealand Board. Mr Wilson, who is currently Deputy Chair, had been acting as Chair since Professor Gregor Coster resigned from the board earlier in the year.

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway made the announcement in early October, “I am delighted to appoint Ross Wilson as the Chair of WorkSafe New Zealand. He has extensive leadership and governance experience and has been a tireless workplace health and safety advocate for over 30 years.

“Mr Wilson is highly regarded by businesses and unions, and I am confident WorkSafe New Zealand will continue to strengthen its relationships with stakeholders under his leadership,”

Mr Lees-Galloway also reappointed Dr Jan White as the same board. Both Wilson and White’s appointments are three-year terms.

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