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ACT Launches its Employment Policy

Media Release

Dr Jamie Whyte, ACT Leader

Monday 9 June

ACT Launches its Employment Policy

ACT has today released its employment relations policy, which focuses on growing businesses, increasing jobs and increasing incomes.

“New Zealand businesses and employees are poorly served by the Employment Relations Act. It is a burden that stifles growth, productivity and wages”, said Dr Jamie Whyte..

“Businesses are tied down by a law that limits who they can employ and increases the opportunities employees have to make unjustified dismissal claims.

“ACT has four policy proposals to address this imbalance. ACT will extend employment trial periods, from 90 days to 12 months. In Australia, employees have to wait between 6 months and 12 months before they can make an unjustified dismissal claim. In the UK, employees must wait two years.

Employing staff is one of the most important investments a business owner will make. Short trial periods don’t give employers a fair opportunity to assess their new employees’ capabilities.

“ACT’s 12 month trial period will also increase the chance for unemployed to get work. This has been the experience in other countries and will emerge here too.

ACT will also remove the employee’s right to reinstatement and provide an opt-out provision for higher earners.

“The ERA tries to patch up ‘marriages’ between businesses and employees that can’t be rescued. Limiting remedies to monetary damages allows everyone to move on, rather than perpetuating a failed relationship. Higher earners – who are often crucial to the success of an organisation – will be able to opt out of personal grievance provisions of the law and pre-negotiate an exit package.

ACT will repeal Part 6A of the ERA. Under Part 6A, if a tenderer wins a contract that utilises certain classes of employees, the successful tenderer must employ the staff of the existing contractor or negotiate redundancies with those workers. This defeats the purpose of tendering in the first place.

These are ACT’s first steps towards unwinding the current legislation and replacing it with contract law and modest codification of the common law. The goal is to reduce regulation, while at the same time protecting people from clearly abusive behaviour. Employment law must give freedom to employers and employees to come to arrangements that suit them both. And these four policy steps are a start along that path.

Dr Jamie Whyte

Attachment : EmploymentPolicy.pdf

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