The Employment Relations Amendment Bill was introduced to
Parliament last week. It contains provisions rolling back the
last government's changes to individual terms of employment and to
collective bargaining and union rights.
Proposed changes to individual employment
- Restricting the use of 90-day trial periods to employers with
fewer than 20 employees.
- Reinstating the right to prescribed rest and meal breaks, with
- Specified employees of small businesses will have the right to
transfer if the business is sold or transferred.
- Reinstatement will again be the primary remedy in personal
grievance cases, if it is practicable and reasonable.
Proposed changes to union information and
terms for individual employees where there is an applicable
collective agreement in place include:
- New employees are to be employed on the same terms as the
applicable collective agreement for the first 30 days.
- Employers are to provide a copy of the applicable collective
and the union contact details at the same time as the intended
individual employment agreement.
Proposed changes to collective bargaining and
- Removing the requirement for a union representative to obtain
consent before entering a workplace
- Requiring employer to allow union delegates reasonable time
during working hours to perform union duties.
- Parties to collective bargaining will have a good faith duty to
conclude a collective agreement, and the Employment Relations
Authority will no longer be able to determine that bargaining has
- Unions will again be able to initiate bargaining 20 days before
- Employers will no longer be able to opt-out of multi-employer
collective bargaining once it has been initiated.
- Collective agreements must include rates of pay, which must be
agreed during collective bargaining.
- Greater protections against discrimination for union
- Removing employers' ability to deduct pay in response to
The Bill has a long way to go, as it has to pass its first
reading, and then go before Select Committee, which will invite and
consider public submissions.
If you have any specific comments on particular aspects of the
Bill, please contact Shima Grice.
A link to the Bill is here: