The Government has announced the introduction of a new Bill to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000. Features of the Bill include supporting collective bargaining and union rights, statutory meal and rest breaks and banning the use of 90-day trial periods for businesses with 20 or more employees.
This last change has sparked some controversy over the years. Initially introduced in 2009, the current law allows employers to fire new staff within their first 90 days. They may do so without giving a reason, and without liability for unfair dismissal.
According to Statistics NZ, 98 per cent of all enterprises have 0-19 employees, with less than 1 per cent employing 100 or more people. However, these enterprises with more than 100 people engage 47 per cent of all employees in New Zealand.
While the change brings security to small business owners worried about barriers to hiring, the majority of employees also have the security of not being subject to this 90-day trial.
Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway has said “Good employment law strikes a balance between employers and workers. Under the previous Government the balance tipped away from fair working conditions for workers. We will restore that balance.”
To read the Government’s media release, click here.
This article is not a substitute for legal advice and you should talk to a lawyer about your specific situation. Should you need any assistance with this, or with any other Employment matters, please contact Lois Flanagan at Parry Field Lawyers (348-8480) firstname.lastname@example.org