With a final sprint towards the election this Saturday, what would it mean for workplace relations in New Zealand’s SMEs if there was a change in government?
Jen Tweed, Managing Director of workplace relations firm Employsure explains: “Whichever party wins, managing workplace relations is, and will continue to be, tough for SMEs. If a change of government is the result of this Saturday’s election, the policies to be introduced by the Labour Party are impactful.”
With a change of government a very real chance on Saturday, from a workplace relations perspective, there are three key Labour policies likely to impact small business.
Labour will replace the 90-day trial period with a free referee service for unjustified dismissal claims. Further, it will double the number of labour inspectors. Both of these initiatives indicate a move towards a stronger enforcement basis, to employment relations.
Fair Pay Agreements
Labour proposes to develop industry-wide agreements specifying minimum pay and working conditions. This shift to expand collective bargaining throughout New Zealand could see an unsettled period for many businesses as the policy seeks to allow both unions, and employers, to call for the creation of Fair Pay Agreements with the assistance of the Employment Relations Authority.
Labour looks to extend the care and disability worker settlement, with no clear parameters being provided as to the scope of its impact.
According to Jen, “the breadth of proposed changes continues to add complexity for employers as they struggle to navigate through an already complex system. This is an important election for New Zealand, as the changes are likely to have a lasting impact for many years to come.”
You can download a PDF overview of the workplace relations policies from the National Party, Labour Party, Green Party, New Zealand First and the Maori Party here.
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