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Draft Employment Bill released for public consultation

28 April 2017


Employment Law

Draft Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill released for public consultation

On 20 April 2017, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) released a copy of the draft Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill (Bill) for public consultation.

In summary, the draft Bill:

· reaffirms that employers are prohibited from discriminating, on the basis of gender, in remuneration and other terms and conditions of employment;

· enables employees to make claims relating to gender discrimination in employment;

· distinguishes between three types of claims (equal pay, pay equity, and gender discrimination on non-remuneration matters); and

· sets out processes for resolving the different types of claims (including pay equity claims).

· The framework for the settlement of pay equity claims broadly includes the following features:

· any employee can raise a pay equity claim with their employer if they consider the claim has merit;

· an employer receiving a claim must assess the merit of the claim having regard to factors set out in the Bill (eg the claim relates to work predominately performed by female employees);

· if the employer accepts that the claim has merit as a pay equity claim, the parties must enter into the pay equity bargaining process;

· bargaining is guided by principles on how the work is assessed in pay equity bargaining, which involves an assessment of both the work and the work of suitable comparator occupations;

· the parties may agree to a bargained outcome at any point of the process; and

· if bargaining reaches an impasse, the parties have the option of accessing mediation, facilitation, or determination by the Employment Relations Authority.

The draft Bill is intended to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000 and repeal and replace the Equal Pay Act 1972 and the Government Service Equal Pay Act 1960.

Anyone intending to provide MBIE with written submissions on the draft Bill will need to do so by 5pm on Thursday 11 May 2017. We would be happy to assist with preparing any submissions you wish to make.

A copy of the draft Bill and further information on providing written submissions can be found here.

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