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Workplace policy: expanding job opportunities

John Key MP
National Party Leader

24 July 2008

Workplace policy: expanding job opportunities

National's Employment & Workplace Relations policy will expand job opportunities for those having difficulty getting work and let businesses grow, says National Party Leader John Key.

"National believes employment law should treat employees and employers fairly, expand opportunities for those having difficulty getting work, increase flexibility, and let businesses grow.

"We will introduce a 90-day trial period for new staff, by agreement between the employer and employee, in businesses with fewer than 20 people. This will give those having difficulty getting work - like young, inexperienced people or new immigrants - a better chance at a job.

"As well, we want businesses considering expansion to actually take that step and give a prospective worker a chance. During the trial period, either party may terminate the employment relationship for performance without a personal grievance claim being brought.

"We will have safeguards for workers. Good-faith provisions will still apply, as will rights to sick leave, holidays, and health and safety provisions. Rules of natural justice and human rights legislation will apply. Mediation will be available in disputes, and employers won't be able to hire and fire the same employee every 90 days."

National will also:

* Continue to allow union access to workplaces with an employer's consent, which cannot be unreasonably withheld.

* Continue to support the social partnership with Business NZ and the Council of Trade Unions to work together on issues of mutual interest.

* Restore workers' rights to bargain collectively without having to belong to a union.

* Retain the Mediation Service but ensure it is properly resourced with properly qualified mediators.

* Require the Employment Relations Authority to act judicially in accordance with the principles of natural justice, including the right to be heard, and the right to cross examine before an impartial referee.

* Allow injunctions and important legal questions to be heard in the first instance in the Employment Court, and allow a general right of appeal to the Court of Appeal.

* Keep four weeks annual leave, but allow employees to request trade of the fourth week for cash. This can be only at the employee's request and cannot be raised in negotiations for an agreement.

* Appoint a working party to review the Holidays Act, especially the issue of 'relevant daily pay'.

ENDS

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