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Government introduces ERA Amendment Bill

14 February 2006

Government introduces ERA Amendment Bill

Legislation designed to protect New Zealand's most vulnerable workers was introduced to Parliament today, Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson said. The Government today introduced legislation to amend Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act to clarify protections for employees who are affected by the sale or transfer of a business, or contracting out of work.

This legislation will give effect to the original policy intent of the 2004 amendments and overtake a 2005 Employment Court decision that said employees did not have employment protection in succession to contract situations.

This protection was provided to ensure that groups of vulnerable employees, such as cleaners, have the right to transfer to a new employer on their existing terms and conditions of employment when they are affected by restructuring situations.

The Amendment Bill will:

· explicitly state that 'restructuring' includes the restructuring situations such as contracting out, contracting in, succession to contract and subsequent contracting situations and the sale or transfer of an employer's business and provide a definition for each;

· clarify that the right to transfer applies regardless of whether a contract expires or is terminated, or ends before a new contractor is appointed; and

· clarify that the right to transfer applies even where the new contract holder is not currently an employer or does not intend to have employees perform the work.

"I intend to refer the Bill to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee for their consideration," says Ms Dyson.


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