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The Second Wave

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Employment Law is going through a period of significant change. In December 2018 the first stage of significant amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000 came into effect. These changes included:

  • Union representatives are now able to enter a workplace without prior consent.
  • Pay deductions are no longer allowed for partial strikes.
  • Businesses are required to enter into bargaining for multi-employer collective agreements.
  • Employees now have extended protections against discrimination on the basis of their union membership.
  • Once again reinstatement is the first course of action considered by the Employment Relations Authority if it is requested by the Employee.
  • Earlier initiation timeframes have been restored for unions in collective bargaining.
  • New categories of Employees are able to receive the protections afforded to “Vulnerable Employees”.

 The second wave of changes are set to take effect on 6 May 2019 and include:

  • The right to set rest and meal according to hours worked will be restored.
  • 90-day trial periods will be restricted to businesses with 19 or less Employees.
  • Employees in “vulnerable industries” will be able to transfer their current terms and conditions of their employment agreement if their work is restructured regardless of the size of their Employer.
  • The duty to conclude bargaining will be restored.
  • The 30-day rule will be restored. Meaning new employees must be employed under terms consistent with the collective agreement for the first 30 days.
  • Pay rates must be included in collective agreements.
  • Employers will need to provide Employees with an approved active choice form within the first 10 days of employment and return those forms to the applicable union.
  • Employers will need to allow for reasonable paid time off for union delegates to undertake their union activities.

These changes are significant and just the beginning of this Governments plans to change the landscape of Employment Law. It is vital that you stay informed. Contact us if you have any questions regarding Employment Law or if you need help interpreting how these changes will affect your Business.