Employment Changes due in 2018

Posted by on 29 January 2018

A new Government generally means changes to employment law.

The Labour Government have announced the proposed employment law changes as part of their "first 100 days" plan.

Many of the proposed changes roll back changes made under the previous National Government, and restore some employee rights and various union rights. 

The change which is potentially of greatest interest to employers is restricting the use of 90 day trial period provisions. The Government proposes limiting the use of the 90 day trial period to businesses with fewer than 20 employees. 

Other changes to employees rights include:

  • Reinstating prescribed rest and meal breaks for workers.
  • Restoring reinstatement as the primary remedy in unjustified dismissal claims.
  • Protection for vulnerable workers extended, with employers with less than 20 employees no longer being exempt in certain areas.

Changes to restore various union rights include:

  • Allowing workers to engage in low-level industrial action without the threat of pay deductions.
  • Guaranteeing new workers the same conditions as other workers employed under an applicable collective agreement.
  • Strengthening the rights of unions to access the workplace by removing the requirement to first obtain the employer's consent. 
  • Reinstating the requirement that bargaining results in a collective agreement, unless there is a genuine reason not to.
  • Restricting employers' rights to 'opt out' of multi-employer collective agreements.

The detail of the proposed changes will not be clear until the Bill is introduced in Parliament, which is expected to happen in February. These changes are likely to become law later this year.

I will keep you up to date with the proposed changes as more information comes to light.