The Government has taken an important step toward creating a high-performing economy that delivers good jobs, decent work conditions and fair wages with a new Bill to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.
The Bill is designed to provide greater protections to workers, especially vulnerable workers, and strengthen the role of collective bargaining in the workplace to ensure fair wages and conditions.
“Making life better for working New Zealanders is a fundamental value for the Labour-led Government,” says Mr Lees-Galloway.
“Too many working New Zealanders are missing out on the benefits of economic growth under the current employment relations system.
Good employment law strikes a balance between employers and workers, he says.
“Under the previous Government the balance tipped away from fair working conditions for workers. We will restore that balance.
“Many of the changes in the Bill are focused on lifting wages through collective bargaining. Wages are too low for many families to afford the basics. This Government believes everyone deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”
The Government will also reinstate key minimum standards and protections to employees, such as the right to prescribed meal and rest breaks and limiting the use of 90 day trial periods to businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
“This legislation is the first step in the Government’s commitment to creating a highly skilled and innovative economy that provides good jobs, decent work conditions, and fair wages,” says Mr Lees-Galloway.
“This is the start of a progressive programme in workplace relations which includes the passing of historic Equal Pay legislation, lifting the minimum wage to $20 by April 1, 2021, and the creation of a framework for Fair Pay Agreements.
The legislation is expected to have its first reading in early February.
“I encourage everyone interested in this important legislation to have their say at the select committee process,” he says.