Controversial labour law changes announced

HRM 11 Dec 2012

New Zealand’s cabinet has approved changes to the Employment Relations Act (ERA), in a move that may negatively impact vulnerable workers when their employers undergo restructuring.

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson announced that small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 20 employees would no longer be required, under Part 6A of the ERA, to continue the employment of groups of low-paid employees when a business goes through restructuring.

Larger businesses, however, would still need to adhere to the provision with the Act. Wilkinson said this was because they were better able to accommodate Part 6A.

The law was first enacted in 2006 to protect caretakers, cleaners, catering workers, hospital orderlies and laundry workers during tough business periods for companies. It gives low-wage workers the right to retain their jobs and to be transferred to any new contractor on the same terms of employment.

“A husband and wife cleaning team who tender and win a small contract may be currently required to take on any staff doing the work under the previous contract owner. “That’s why Cabinet has also agreed to exempt small and medium businesses – those with fewer than 20 employees,” said Wilkinson.

She added that employees in SMEs account for approximately a quarter of those in affected industries.

Leave your comment
Start a new discussion

HRM Asia forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Post a Comment
HRM Asia welcomes your contribution. Your IP address is recorded in the event of a complaint.
Name *
Email *
(required, but will not display)
Comment *
Please enter in the numbers in the box left.
You are about to submit your comment. Is it:
  • Professional
  • In your own name or pseudonym, not impersonating someone else
  • Free from rude language
  • Free from advertising
  • If you prefer not to post but are still keen to get your viewpoint across, you can always e-mail the editor.
  • 20 Sep | Michael Page International | Singapore
    19 Sep | Michael Page International | Singapore
    Gamification and story-telling at Sabre Holdings
    Joyita Poddar, HR Director, APAC, Sabre Holdings, elaborates on how firms should sell the success stories of their own employees through different platforms
    TTSH: HR leading the health drive
    The business case for WSH
    Itron: A five-prong guideline to employee retention
    Performance Leadership Pte Ltd |
    Lunch, Learn and Bond with your teams, all within 1 hour! Choose from a variety of light-hearted, interesting or thought-provoking topics that appeal ...
    Performance Recognition Pte Ltd |
    A monthly business incubator where leaders grow their skills, exchange ideas and share best practices.
    Organisational Development Concepts |
    Public speaking is a set of skills not a talent. You can be a good presenter if you learn the skills for presentation success.