Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

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


Changes needed to proposed workplace legislation

25 May 2017

Changes needed to proposed workplace legislation to protect domestic violence victims, Law Society says

Proposed legislation aiming to enhance legal protections in the workplace for domestic violence victims is unclear and could result in a range of unintended consequences, the New Zealand Law Society says.

The Law Society presented its submission on the Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Bill to Parliament’s Justice and Electoral select committee today and said the aim of the bill was commendable.

“The Law Society supports this objective but considers that changes to the bill are needed to achieve it,” Law Society spokesperson Victoria Casey QC told the committee.

“As currently drafted, the bill is likely to give rise to unintended consequences, including the risk of intrusion into individuals’ privacy,” Ms Casey says.

In the context of domestic violence, privacy and consent to disclosure are very important and raise sensitive and complex questions. The disclosure of highly sensitive personal information to an employer may pose a significant barrier for victims seeking help.

“It is also important that obligations on employers are clear and practicable. The bill does not provide sufficient guidance on how to balance the privacy and best interests of victims with employers’ legal obligations to provide protective measures in the workplace,” Ms Casey says.

The Law Society also questions whether there is a need for new legislative provisions to allow domestic violence victims to request flexible working arrangements, since these can already be accommodated in existing provisions of the Employment Relations Act.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“As currently drafted, the bill makes it more difficult for workers citing domestic violence to obtain flexible working arrangements than other workers who invoke the existing provisions of the Act,” Law Society spokesperson Maria Dew told the committee.

The bill puts domestic violence victims in the unique position of having to provide reasons and prove grounds to support their application for flexible working.

“The bill also subjects domestic violence victims to more onerous requirements in other respects, and the Law Society recommends the select committee consider whether the flexible working needs of these workers can be better met by the existing Employment Relations Act provisions,” Ms Dew says.


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On National Spreading Panic About The Economy

The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...


Government: Retiring Chief Of Navy Thanked For His Service

Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia... More

Labour: Grant Robertson To Retire From Parliament
Labour List MP and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson will retire from Parliament next month, and later in the year take up the position of Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More

Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.