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Employment Court decision will have a wide impact

This week’s Employment Court decision will have a wide impact on employees and employers throughout New Zealand


The Postal Workers Union of Aotearoa welcomes the decision of the Employment Court received yesterday that finds that the compulsory overtime provision applying to delivery workers in the NZ Post Collective Agreement is unlawful and unenforceable.

The decision considers the implications of amendments made to the Employment Relations Act by the last Government. The amendments to the Act require that any employment agreement which enables an employer to require compulsory overtime must compensate employees for the time they must keep themselves available to do any overtime that may be required. If the agreement does not provide compensation then the employee cannot be compelled to work overtime.

John Maynard, National President of the PWUA, said today that these legal proceedings arose when NZ Post changed its rosters for most delivery employees, requiring them to work longer shifts of 9 hours and 25 minutes on rostered days. Delivery employees asked the Union if it was compulsory for them to work overtime on top of the 9 hour 25 minute shifts, because if it was compulsory then they wouldn’t be able to collect their children from childcare on some days, and often wouldn’t be able to attend sporting, cultural or family activities in the evenings, or take second jobs.

The PWUA and NZ Post agreed together to refer the matter to the Employment Court for a speedy determination of the meaning of these new provisions in the Employment Relations Act.

The PWUA appreciates that NZ Post has not disciplined any Union members who have refused to work overtime while the Court’s judgement has been awaited.

The Court’s decision means that delivery employees can now have certainty that they can finish work at the time they are rostered to finish, and plan their personal lives accordingly. Some may agree to remain available for overtime, and be compensated for that.

Mr Maynard went on to say that this Court decision will have a wide impact on employees and employers throughout New Zealand. It will lead to employers needing to think carefully about how much availability they really require from their workers, and to paying those workers a reasonable amount of compensation for the availability required.


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