Statute to reinstate workers’ rights

Iain Lees-Galloway

The Employment Relations Amendment Act (passed by Parliament on December 5, 2018) helps restore fairness to New Zealand workplaces and restore fundamental rights for workers,

The Government is determined to lift New Zealand into a high wage, high skill economy with thriving regions. The Employment Relations Amendment Act is one piece of our plan to do this, by restoring a better workplace relations framework for New Zealand workers.

Restoring conditions

The Act restores many of the conditions that existed during the previous Labour-led Government, at time when the economy enjoyed record-low unemployment and unprecedented economic growth.

The Coalition Government believes that everyone deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. This Act helps achieve that by bringing back protections for workers, especially vulnerable workers, and strengthening the role of collective bargaining.

Key Changes

The key changes under the Employment Relations Amendment Act include (a) Reinstating prescribed meal and rest breaks (b) Strengthening Collective Bargaining and Union Rights (c) Restoring protections for vulnerable workers, such as those in the cleaning and catering industries, regardless of the size of their employer (d) Limiting 90-day trials to business with fewer than 20 employees.

These are fair and familiar protections that strike the right balance for employers and workers, and mainly restores worker protections which were in place as recently as 2015.

A majority of the provisions in the Act will come into force on Monday, May 6, 2019.

Further information on the changes will be available at www.employment.govt.nz.

Iain Lees-Galloway is Workplace Relations and Safety Minister

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