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Progress On Minimum Employment Standards

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson and Associate Labour Minister Laila Harré today released the first reports of three advisory groups reporting to the government on the Holidays Act, equal employment opportunities and 'contracting out' arrangements.

Further consultation and technical work is continuing on the issues being covered by the three advisory groups, and the government has yet to make any decisions.

Each group includes employer and union representatives, as well as other experts.

Margaret Wilson and Laila Harré said the Advisory Groups have provided robust, comprehensive and thought provoking analysis of the very complex issues involved.

"We have invited two of the Groups to undertake further development work.

"For the Holidays Act we have asked for identification of further areas of compromise between employers and unions.

"For the Contracting Out Group we have asked for further technical development and impact assessment of a number of options, ranging from a review of the current protections in the ERA to an assessment of the European Directive on Acquired Rights.

"We were pleased to see the high degree of unanimity among the members of the EEO Advisory Group; this indicates the broad social consensus that has emerged on equal employment issues. We will be discussing with the chair of the group, Anske Janssen, if there are further areas which need developing by the group".

Margaret Wilson and Laila Harré said progress on the Holidays Act is likely to attract interest from employers and employees throughout the country.

"It has been clear for an awfully long time that the Holidays Act does not reflect current working practices. It is equally confusing to employers and employees. This is most clearly borne out by the massive number of queries received by the Employment Relations Information Line which receives approximately 59,000 calls per year on the Holidays Act, and the fact that approximately 80% of complaints to the Labour Inspectorate relate to this Act.

"This uncertainty and the resultant stresses and costs cannot be allowed to continue. The Labour Alliance Government intends to work with the parties and continue tripartite discussion to improve the legislation".

Ends

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