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Planning Is Key – Election Policies To Affect All Employers

Employers across the country must be vigilant over the coming months as the Government implements policies that will affect workplace relations and safety, according to Employsure, New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisor.

Proposed changes promised in the election include doubling sick leave for workers from five to 10 days, continuing with planned increases to the minimum wage, pay equity process improvements, implementing ‘fair pay agreements’, and strengthening key employment legislation.

According to Employsure Managing Director Ed Mallett, employers will need to keep these policies in the forefront of their minds and plan ahead for the extra costs these will have on their business.

“While some policies are noble in intention, when it comes to implementation, they may be unnecessarily complex and significantly affect employers, particularly those who have been struggling throughout the year as a result of COVID-19,” said Mr Mallett.

Previously the Government brought in 10 paid days family violence leave, and is now proposing five additional sick days and another public holiday at the cost to the employer. Together with additional minimum rates for certain industries, these changes could stretch some business owners to breaking point.

“We’re not arguing against employee benefits going up, that’s an important part of rebuilding the economy. However, they should only go up in line with business confidence, especially small business. If SMEs aren’t properly supported, then they eventually get bled dry and buckle under the financial strain. This ultimately has an effect on employee and job creation in the long run.

“These next few months will be critical for business owners to look at their biggest costs and find ways to minimise their expenses. They will be paying more for their employees, and they need to be ready for it.”

Policies announced during the election still need to go through a legislative process. Like most elections previously, some policies may have the finer points changed before coming into law, others might get watered down and some may not occur this term.

“Business owners shouldn’t stick their head in the sand and ignore what these changes could potentially mean for them,” continued Mr Mallett.

“Employers under financial pressure should use this as a time to prepare themselves through actions like extending opening hours where possible, or cost-cutting measures and redundancies.

“Decisions need to be made now. If not, closing down may not just be a possibility, it will become an inevitability,” he concluded.


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