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NZers to have greater employment opportunities

Hon Kate Wilkinson Minister of Labour

04 December 2008

New Zealanders to have greater employment opportunities

Businesses and workers will benefit from expanded employment opportunities because of today's passage of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill 2008, says the Minister of Labour, Hon Kate Wilkinson.

The law allows for employers with fewer than 20 employees to, by written agreement, employ workers on a three month trial period, without the risk of protracted legal proceedings if it does not work out.

"The 90-day trial will provide businesses the confidence to take on employees in uncertain economic times and will promote labour productivity over the long-term.

"Trial periods recognise that the path from poverty and dependence requires access to meaningful work. It offers job seekers on the margins of the labour market the chance to prove themselves and get ahead under their own steam.

"The Government is giving beneficiaries every encouragement to get into work by ensuring they will not face a stand-down period before accessing the benefit if a trial period does not work out.

"The new law contains significant safety mechanisms to protect workers from exploitation by unscrupulous employers and I am confident we have got the balance right," Ms Wilkinson says.

"This law is about expanding opportunities and employers must show good faith and comply with their obligations under the legislation.

"Unscrupulous, dishonest and unfair employers who attempt to flout the law will not be tolerated."

ENDS

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