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Big questions around mismanaged bill

Darien Fenton Labour MP

12 December 2008

Big questions around mismanaged bill

Labour MP and Associate Labour spokesperson Darien Fenton says the passing of the 90 day fire at will Employment Relations Amendment Bill was mismanaged by the government and will lead to more difficulties for business and workers.

She has released some of the questions that the Minister of Labour failed to answer about the 90 day fire at will bill during the parliamentary process.

"These questions were put to the Minister during the Committee stages of the Bill and needed addressing because of the inability of the public to seek answers through a select committee process" says Ms Fenton. "Answers were needed on these issues to ensure clarity around the new law and to avoid unintended consequences."

Questions included :

1. Will the number of less than 20 workers include part-time workers, casuals and temporary workers, or less than 20 full-time equivalent workers?

2. How will the Minister ensure that businesses do not create smaller entities within their business so they can take advantage of and exploit the new law?

3. What happens if an employer employs a new worker when they have 21 employees and another is employed when the workforce has dropped to 19? Will one worker be entitled to take a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal and the other not?

4. What will the Minister do to ensure that the law is not used to avoid the accumulation of the qualifying period for the youth rate for workers under the age of 18?

5. Does the 90 day probationary period apply where work is contracted out or a business is sold and the workers are engaged by the new employer?

6. What does a worker who is dismissed under the new law tell their next employer or Work and Income when they apply for a benefit, when they do not have to be given any reason?

"These and many other questions of the Labour opposition have not been answered and are of considerable concern to workers who will find themselves in this situation after 1 March 2009.

"I believe that rather than "removing a roadblock to employment" as the National Government claims, this new law will create a nightmare of compliance, more uncertainty for business and workers and considerable unfairness."


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