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Making It Easier To Create Jobs

Wednesday 17th Nov 1999
Donna Awatere Huata
Media Release -- Economy

ACT Employment Spokesman Donna Awatere Huata today announced ACT's Employment policy saying employers needed clarity and certainty in employment law.

"National has failed to act to make key changes needed to help employers create jobs but the plans of Labour and the Alliance to turn the clock back on employment law and industrial relations are a nightmare for employers and employees.

ACT's first priority is to strengthen the Employment Contracts Act by introducing a six month probationary period to enable employers to take on new staff without the threat of having a personal grievance claim brought against them if the employee doesn't work out.

"The current laws have made hiring new staff risky and worrying for employers, particularly those running small businesses. Employers can be taken to the cleaners if they make a mistake and hire the wrong person.

"The case this year of an Auckland woman who has taken four personal grievance claims against North Shore employers in the past four years for unfair dismissal shows what employers are up against. Employers who find the person they have employed isn't up to the job can find themselves being sued for thousands of dollars if they try to dismiss them. A claim for $10,000 can send a small business to the wall.

"Employers who find themselves in this situation are being advised to settle out of Court, even though they have done nothing wrong, because they simply cannot afford to go through the lengthy and expensive litigation process. Employers want to hire staff but they are reluctant to expose themselves to the risks involved.

"ACT also wants the outdated Holidays Act changed to give employers and employees choice and certainty. There are two areas that need addressing. Clearly the days in lieu need addressing. If, because of the nature of the job, a person is required to work on say, Christmas Day that person may prefer to receive an extra cash sum, rather than take a day off in the middle of February. Similarly, the difficulty in converting accrued holidays, or part of annual leave, into cash is something that needs addressing. What is important is that employees have choice.

"If Government wants to help New Zealanders into work it must help employers to hire more staff by sorting out the employment laws. This is a key issue for the country's employers and small businesses this election year. Government must ensure its laws help employers to create jobs," said Donna Awatere Huata.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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