OECD calls for increased minimum notice

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New Zealand employers should provide more warning when making staff redundant – that’s the claim from one leading economic organisation following an in-depth study into job loss.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is calling on the government to make a number of changes to better support workers after redundancy – the suggestions include increasing the minimum statutory notice period.

“The OECD recommends New Zealand strengthen employer responsibilities for laid-off workers through a minimum statutory notice period, with an online notification system and sanctions for non-compliance,” the organisation said in a statement.

The comments come after the organisation released its Back to Work: New Zealand report which reveals that 1.1 per cent of the country’s working population has been made redundant in the past five years and are still yet to find a job.

The report also found that many of those who are re-employed tend to earn less, work shorter hours and have fewer benefits than in their prior jobs. The long-term impact on wages is also stronger than in other OECD countries – even three years after redundancy, personal income is about 20 per cent lower for workers in a new job compared to their peers who stayed in work.

Other suggestions laid out in the report include strengthening training guidance and counselling for redundant workers, improved recognition of skills acquired on the job, and expanding employment services.

Currently, employers have no legal obligation to help workers with additional training or outplacing following a redundancy but employment lawyer Hamish Kynaston says doing so could help organisations mitigate the impact of redundancy.

“A lot of organisations would say that is best practice,” he told HRM. “Certainly there is a legal obligation to mitigate the impact of redundancy and to think about the ways in which you might do that by helping employees transition into other roles – either by outplacement, by tapping networks, or giving people an opportunity to connect with a recruitment agency, whatever it might be – those are all really positive ways to mitigate.”

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