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Institute supports proposed labour law changes

Media release – for Immediate Release

21 July 2010

Human Resources Institute of New Zealand supports proposed labour law changes

The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) is supporting the Government’s proposed employment law changes in the face of controversy over key changes including the 90-day trial extension.

HRINZ president Kristen Cooper said The Institute supported the proposed changes in principle because they were in keeping what the Government had been discussing and with what HRINZ members have been saying they want.

“I do acknowledge the concerns of unions around potential employer abuse of the 90-day trial extension. However there are no signs of this based on the evaluation of the existing legislation for employers of fewer than 20 staff. Indeed it is encouraging employers to hire new people,” Ms Cooper said.

“Unions will no doubt negotiate appropriate provisions in their collective employment agreements, and of course, we do need to scrutinise what comes out in the fine print of the Bill to ensure there is fairness and transparency for all parties in the proposed changes.”

Ms Cooper said for employers, removal of workers who are not performing properly is one of the most important issues facing today’s workplaces. Currently removal of non-performing staff is intensive and time-consuming. The time and processes tend to disrupt workplace culture and wellbeing, and have a negative impact on productivity.

“I see the changes as potentially bringing better focus to the workplace – on people doing what they are employed to do, and employers being able to act quickly if that is not happening.”

She said the 90-day period was not compulsory, and was subject to negotiation and agreement between parties – albeit in favour of the employer.

“However, the employee has a choice whether to agree to it or not. If they don’t agree to it, the employer cannot invoke it after they have started. And if they do agree, they will still have channels of redress on matters such as claims for discrimination or disadvantage through the Human Rights Act.

“Ultimately all the proposed changes, including communicating correctly in collective bargaining and reason for dismissal tests, go toward helping employers improve workplace relationships and remove people, who in effect, are not doing the job they were hired to do.

“This will encourage employers to employ new people and expand their productivity, which many are fearful of right now.”


ENDS

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