News Article

latest news in employment law

Proposed Changes to Employment Law (90 Day Trial Period & Buy Back 1 Week of Annual Holidays)

Published 01 Jul 2010

(Press Release)
A Bill amending the Employment Relations Act 2000 is being drafted for introduction this year. "There are a lot of people looking for work and the changes announced today will help boost employer confidence and encourage them to take on more staff." says Minister of Labour, Kate Wilkinson.

Here is a summary of the proposed changes.

90 Day Trial Period
Extending trial to all employers
  • The voluntary 90-day trial period for new employees will be extended to cover all employers.
Personal Grievances
Fixing the system
  • The Employment Relations Authority will have the ability to filter out vexatious or frivolous claims early on.
  • The Authority will promote mediation by giving priority to mediated cases.
  • Behaviour that delays the Authority will be penalised.
  • Employers' processes will not be the subject of pedantic scrutiny.
  • The Authority will be moving to a more judicial mode of operation, with the right to cross-examine witnesses.
  • Rules on union access to workplaces will change, so that any access will require the consent of the employer. That consent cannot be unreasonably withheld.
Cashing in the fourth week of annual holidays
  • Employees will be able to trade one of their four weeks' annual holidays for cash. This is only at the employee's request and cannot be raised in salary negotiations.
Using "Average Daily Pay" to calculate entitlements
  • Calculating entitlements will be simpler for employees who have variable hours and pay, using our new calculation known as "Average Daily Pay". It's based on the average of an employee's pay over the past year.
Transferring public holidays
  • Employers and employees will be able to agree to transfer the observance of public holidays to another working day.
Doubling penalties for employers
  • Maximum penalties will double for employers who don't comply with the Holidays Act.
Asking for proof of sickness or injury
  • Employers will be able to ask for proof of sickness or injury within three consecutive days of an employee taking sick leave – but they'll have to cover the employee's costs in obtaining proof.