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Review Favours Extension Of Flexible Work Rights

Hon Kate Wilkinson
Minister of Labour
30 March 2012 Media Statement

Review Favours Extension Of Flexible Work Rights

A review of workers’ rights to ask for flexible work arrangements has found strong support for extending the power to all employees.

The review into section 6AA of the Employment Relations Act was presented to Parliament today by Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson.

It found flexibility delivered positive business benefits, including improved retention and recruitment of staff, reduced staff turnover, and improved employee motivation and loyalty.

In addition, employees who have flexible hours were more likely to be satisfied or very satisfied with their work-life balance and valued having choice about the way they worked.

“We made an election promise to free up flexible working arrangements and this review reiterates the benefits to both employees and employers,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“At present the right to request flexible working arrangements is only available to employees who are care givers. We will be extending this right to all workers which should improve work-life balance, benefit the community and boost productivity in the workplace.

“This change to the Act allows employees to reach agreements that both they and their employers are happy with. It’s about trusting them to reach agreement first without having to go through a formal process.”

According to a survey by the Department of Labour, 74% of employers and 75% of employees want the legal right to request flexible work arrangements to be available to all employees.

Changes to flexible working arrangements are expected to come into effect later this year.

The review of Part 6AA was a statutory requirement required under the Employment Relations Act.

The review report, including a summary of the key findings, is available at – www.dol.govt.nz/er/bestpractice/worklife/flexiblework/part-6aa/

ENDS

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