ERA changes offer flexibility

We welcome changes announced to the Employment Relations Act (ERA) along with additional amendments to speed up processes at the Employment Relations Authority on April 23, 2013.

Most changes were announced prior to the 2011 election.

The overall effect will be to make the ERA simpler and more efficient and enable more flexibility in the workplace.

Improving employees’ ability to seek flexible working arrangements and simpler arrangements around meal and rest breaks will be of general benefit.

Removing compulsion from parties involved in multi-employer bargaining, compulsion to settle a collective agreement, and compulsion for new employees to join a collective agreement will allow for improved employment relationships.

The proposed change to the rules around transfer of employees when contracts change hands to include exemptions for all businesses with fewer than 20 employees, should be studied to ensure unintended consequences did not arise.

Overall, these changes will allow more flexibility and certainty for businesses, allowing for more growth and job creation.

Phil O’Reilly is Chief Executive of BusinessNZ based in Wellington

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