Restoring balance to the workplace
The passage into law of the Employment Relations Amendment Act helps restore fairness to New Zealand workplaces and
restore fundamental rights for workers, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.
“The Government is determined to lift New Zealand into a high wage, high skill economy with thriving regions. The
Employment Relations Amendment Act is one piece of our plan to do this, by restoring a better workplace relations
framework for New Zealand workers.
“The Act restores many of the conditions that existed during the previous Labour-led Government, at time when the
economy enjoyed record-low unemployment and unprecedented economic growth.
“The Coalition Government believes everyone deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. This Act helps achieve that
by bringing back protections for workers, especially vulnerable workers, and strengthening the role of collective
The key changes under the Employment Relations Amendment Act include:
• reinstating prescribed meal and rest breaks
• strengthening collective bargaining and union rights
• restoring protections for vulnerable workers, such as those in the cleaning and catering industries, regardless of the
size of their employer
• limiting 90-day trials to business with fewer than 20 employees.
“These are fair and familiar protections that strike the right balance for employers and workers, and mainly restores
worker protections which were in place as recently as 2015,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.
The majority of the provisions in the Act will come into force on Monday 6 May 2019. Further information on the changes
will be available at www.employment.govt.nz