News Article

latest news in employment law

NZPA Reports That Wellington Best City to 'Get a Payout'

Published 01 Aug 2009

Personal grievance awards broke new records across New Zealand last year - with Wellington being the best city to make a claim.

An analysis of last year's decisions shows records were set for both highest and lowest payouts.

It paid to make a claim in Wellington, with the average amount for hurt and humiliation $6474, while for Auckland it was $4851, and in Christchurch $4896.

A record 521 personal grievances were heard by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) in 2008 and, in another record, 67 per cent of decisions favoured employees.

But the average national compensation award went down by 26 per cent from $6804 in 2007 to $5067 in 2008, which was below 2004 levels.

The increase in the number of cases was not in relation to restructuring and redundancy.

The number of cases claiming disadvantage, or about dismissal for poor performance had doubled.

Awards made by individual authority members varied hugely, with the highest awarding more than double the lowest.

The analysis also showed 49 per cent of personal grievances were taken by employees in their first year of work.

While the law stated reinstatement to a job was the primary remedy, only 17 out of 521 employees were reported to have claimed it.

The claim that some employees saw personal grievances as an alternative to buying a Lotto ticket had some foundation.

Employers want to do the right thing, but what is right is far from clear.