From today, the long awaited changes to 2000’s Employment Relations Act will be effective.
Lawyers at Chapman Tripp outlined the key changes to legislation that employers need to be aware of:
• Increased flexibility for rest breaks and meal breaks, requiring employers to provide
employees with a "reasonable opportunity" for rest and meal times
• Flexible working arrangements extended to all employees rather than only those
with caring responsibilities.
• Employers able to opt out of bargaining for a multi-employer collective agreement.
• Employers able to initiate bargaining at the same time as unions.
• "30 day rule" will be repealed, allowing more scope for employers to negotiate
individual terms and conditions at the outset. Employers must still advise
employees of the existence of the collective agreement and provide contact details
for the union.
• Most strikes and lockouts to require advance written notice.
• Employers able to make partial pay deductions where employees take partial strike
action (say work to rule).
• Good faith provisions amended to enable an employer to withhold confidential
information where disclosing it will result in the unwarranted disclosure of a
non-affected person's affairs.
• Continuity of employment provisions under allows employers to
negotiate the apportionment of service related entitlements.
• Employment Relations Authority required to give an oral decision or indication at
the end of an investigation meeting and written determinations within three months.