Collins Comments – Improving Employment Law Will Help Grow The Economy
As we continue to grow out of the recession, we need to have the right environment to create more jobs. Economic growth
happens when a business sees an opportunity and is prepared to invest, expand, take risks, and hire new workers.
The National-led Government is committed to giving businesses of all sizes the confidence to do these things.
We introduced the 90-day trial period in 2008 to encourage employers with fewer than 20 employees to take on new staff,
and to expand job opportunities for people who often struggle to get work.
It is working extremely well. A Department of Labour report found that the vast majority of people employed on a trial
period have remained employed.
The report said most employers viewed dismissals during the trial period as an unfavourable outcome, and actively tried
to avoid them.
The voluntary 90-day trial is a win-win situation for employers and employees. That’s why we’re extending the trial
period to all employers so that every business and new employee can benefit from it.
Extending trial periods is just part of the package of employment law improvements we’re making.
National is committed to maintaining a fair and equitable system that protects the rights of New Zealand workers.
We’re changing the personal grievance process to resolve employment problems more quickly, discourage poor practices,
reduce costs, and improve confidence in the system.
We’re also looking at changing the law around sick days. Employers will be able to require a medical certificate from
employees who take one sick day. This will be at the expense of the employer.
Employers aren’t going to waste their time and money asking every employee for a medical certificate when they take a
day off sick. This option is about the ability to question those who may be abusing their sick leave. Common sense tells
us it will be used sparingly, and good workers aren’t going to see any difference.
There will also be changes to the Holidays Act. This will include giving employees the ability to trade one of their
four weeks’ annual leave for cash. Cashing in the fourth week of leave can’t be raised in salary negotiations and can
only be at the employee’s request. Maximum penalties will double for employers who don’t comply with the Holidays Act.
National’s employment law package is pragmatic, credible, and effective. It’s one more step on the road to a growing
economy and more jobs.