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New employment bill unnecessary, won't work

New employment bill unnecessary, won't work

A bill aimed at putting more compulsion on employers is misconceived, says Business NZ.

The Employment Relations Flexible Working Hours Bill, put forward by the Green party, would make it compulsory for an employer to consider an employee's request for flexible working hours; would require the employer to make a full business case to support their decision; and would make the employer pay compensation if they failed to comply.

Business NZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly says compulsion isn't appropriate.

"Business NZ is already working with the Government on behalf of thousands of enterprises that are committed to providing family-friendly workplaces. Employers already know that taking account of staff needs and diversity are the best way to retain staff in a tight labour market.

"The Government is aware of the weight of research on best practice in this area, which points to the fact that voluntary arrangements made on-site work better than state compulsion.

"So it's surprising that the Government helped send the bill to select committee. Perhaps it is trying not to offend the Greens in election year.

"Unfortunately, Labour's support for the Greens on this issue means the bill has a fair chance of becoming law. This is not good for business - enterprises should be focused on competitiveness, not compliance traps.

"A new law isn't necessary. We already have laws against discrimination on the grounds of sex, pregnancy and family status, and the growth in part-time jobs in response to employee wishes indicates there is already a mindset of flexibility among employers."

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