Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


90-day bill offers hope


90-day bill offers hope

While the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is being ‘pigeonholed’ as an employer versus new employee battle for rights, what about the larger majority which is currently not receiving representation – the existing workers, questions the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ).

The Council empathises with the union groups wish to protect the rights of new employees; however, it is the existing workers who frequently suffer when an unsuitable person is employed. All workers should have the right to a healthy, safe and ideally, happy working environment.

“This ideal state of things is undermined when existing staff have to carry a greater load of work to compensate for an unsuitable new employee’s shortcomings”, says Elizabeth Bang, NCWNZ National President. “Resentment can creep into the previously happy work environment and good staff start looking for greener pasture.”

The Council sees the Employment Relations Amendment Bill as offering increased protection to existing staff in small and medium-sized businesses, an increasing proportion of which are owned by women. The fact that the new employee and employer are required to reach agreement on whether the trial period will be initiated or not, is a positive feature of the proposed amendment.

“For some new employees this may be a deterrent; while for others it will be an incentive,” believes Elizabeth Bang. “Employers can get an immediate sense of whether the new employee is willing to make a commitment.”


During the 2006 consultation on the 90 day Bill, NCWNZ’s opinion was divided. NCWNZ Branches, which include a mix of affiliates from unionised and non-unionised groups, employer groups and individuals, advocated for changing current employment laws relating to new staff. Some Nationally Organised Societies representing union interest strongly opposed the legislation.
Those matters highlighted by the Council to the Select Committee which in some cases may require enactment in legislative terms, include:
1. Many members felt that there should be a formal, probationary contract, spelling out the rights and responsibilities of both parties, and that an employer should give the reasons for termination in writing. There was concern that probationary employment should not become too informal and that one of the purposes for this type of employment should be to assist the employee to improve skills, relationships and attitudes. One response suggested that the employer should provide a regularly documented record of the employee’s progress.

2. It was recognised that either party might choose to discontinue the employment and therefore there should be a period of notice to allow both to make appropriate arrangements.

3. In the event of a termination employers should be encouraged to provide a reference stating what skills had been learned.

4. There was general concern that the stand-down period for benefits would need to be adjusted if this Bill were passed.

5. A point of some debate was the application of the various employment benefits such as sick leave, holiday pay and entitlement for paid parental leave. Although members viewed this differently, all were agreed that these issues needed to be clarified. The most common suggestion was that a “start” date should be clearly noted in the initial contract. Members also felt that a probationary employee was not a second class employee and should therefore not be deprived of normal benefits during this time.

6. Although the object of the Bill is to eliminate costly employment disputes our members recognised that there would be occasions when legitimate problems arose and there was considerable support for a streamlined tribunal that would handle this type of employment only. Recourse to the Human Rights Act was felt to be somewhat restrictive and not always appropriate.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Declaring Premature Victory

Sure enough, Saturday’s Vaxathon was a barrel of fun and a throwback not merely to the Telethons of the past. It also revived memories of those distant days of early 2020, when we were all carefully wiping down our groceries, not touching our faces, washing our hands for 20 seconds and responding to level four lockdowns by putting teddy bears in the window for the benefit of the little kids walking by in their family bubbles. Those were the days, when the Team of Five Million felt like a real, organic thing... More>>

RNZ: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces Cabinet decision on Covid-19 alert levels

Northland will move to level 2 at 11.59pm on 19 October. Waikato will be held at level 3, to be reviewed on Friday. Auckland will remain in level 3 with current restrictions for another two weeks... More>>



Economy: Inflation highest in over a decade
The consumers price index rose 2.2 percent in the September 2021 quarter, the biggest quarterly movement since a 2.3 percent rise in the December 2010 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Excluding quarters impacted by increases to GST rates, the September quarter movement was the highest since the June 1987 quarter... More>>


Government: New Zealand Increases Climate Aid Contribution

The Government is making a four-fold increase in the support it provides to countries most vulnerable to the climate emergency, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today... More>>

Government: Opportunity To Shape NZ’s First Emissions Reduction Plan
The Government is inviting New Zealanders to inform the country’s first Emissions Reduction Plan with the release of a consultation document containing a range of policy ideas to decrease the country’s emissions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today... More>>


CPay Cheque To Pay Cheque: Half A Million New Zealanders Have No Savings
New findings from the Consumer NZ sentiment tracker found that 15% of New Zealanders had no savings, and a further 27% were anxious about their level of savings and would like to have more tucked away... More>>

Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>

Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>




InfoPages News Channels