Employment Standards Legislation Bill

NZ's Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse released the Employment Standards Legislation Bill today, which will amend various employment-related statutes. The aim of this omnibus Bill is "to promote fairer and more productive workplaces by providing enhanced protections and benefits for both employers and employees". The proposed changes are wide-ranging and affect a number of key pieces of employment legislation.
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse today introduced a new bill that will extend paid parental leave and strengthen the enforcement of employment standards.
“The Employment Standards Bill includes a package of measures to extend paid parental leave entitlements to more workers and increase the flexibility of the scheme,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“The changes aim to better support families by recognising the diversity of modern work and family arrangements and making it easier for parents to stay connected to the workforce.”
The enforcement of minimum employment standards will also be strengthened, including tougher sanctions for employers who intentionally breach these standards, increased tools for labour inspectors and clearer record keeping requirements.
“Protecting vulnerable workers and tackling harmful anti-competitive behaviour to create a level playing field for all businesses is a priority for the Government and this Bill reflects that.”
The Bill will also stop unfair employment practices such as ‘zero-hour contracts’ where employers do not commit any hours of work, but expect employees to be available when required without compensation.
“The Government has been clear that there is no place for these type of employment arrangements and I particularly look forward to submissions from workers and employers on this aspect of the Bill.
“This demonstrates a pragmatic approach to promoting flexibility and fairness in the labour market without imposing unnecessary compliance costs on employers in general.
“The Government is committed to ensuring the employment law is fair and supports the flexible, modern workforce that is critical for the productivity of our economy.”

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