The Employment Relations Bill December 2018

05 December 2018

Virginia webWe are pleased to report that the coalition government has moderated some of the concerning aspects of the Employment Relations (Amendment) Bill which is back before Parliament.

Businesses will welcome the following changes:

  • The free union access is now restricted to when there are members in a collective that covers their work, or where there is bargaining for a collective.
  • The previous clause that would have prevented employers from opting out from Multi-Employer Collective Agreements (MECAs) – has changed to allow employers to object to a MECA, as long as the objection is on reasonable grounds.

We are appreciative that the 90-day trial remains for businesses with 20 employees or less, but are disappointed that larger businesses will not have access to this trial. Some of these businesses may not take as many risks when employing some at-risk youth who are new to the workforce.

We are disappointed that there are no changes to the requirement for employers to reach agreement on bargaining demands for collective agreements (the duty to conclude), which breaches international labour law - and we will continue to pursue this.

The issue of meal breaks also remains largely unaddressed.

The Otago Southland Employers’ Association, along with our sister organisations across NZ, the EMA, Business Central, Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce all part of the BusinessNZ family undertook a high-profile campaign called ‘Fix the Bill’ in the early stages against this Bill. We are appreciative of members who emailed the government coalition partners communicating your concerns.

We believe that the Bill still has a way to go to more closely align with the interests of employers and employees in the modern workforce and modern economy.

There are a number of employment relations changes that are following this Bill, and we will continue to monitor this closely on your behalf.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss further.


Virginia Nicholls | CEO |

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