Election employment policies – what the parties are promising

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Tomorrow Kiwis will go to the polls and depending on the outcome HR professionals could find themselves having to deal with a few changes when it comes to employment law and industrial relations. HRM takes a look what the parties are proposing.

  • Increase paid parental leave by four weeks to a total of 18 weeks as well as extend paid parental leave to seasonal and casual workers, workers with more than one employer, and people who have recently changed jobs;
  • Promises to pass the Employment Relations Amendment Bill;
  • Invest $30 million in WorkSafe New Zealand to strengthen enforcement and education, employ health and safety inspectors and bring in stronger penalties.
  • Increase paid parental leave to 26 weeks;
  • Increase the minimum wage to $15 in its first 100 days in government and then to $16.25 by early 2015;
  • Remove the 90-day trial law;
  • Promises to hold a commission of inquiry into wages and collective bargaining;
  • Ensure that all core public service workers are paid at least the Living Wage, and extend this as fiscal conditions permit; 
  • Abolish Secondary Tax.
NZ First
  • Raise the minimum wage to $17 an hour and a planned review of the use of short- or fixed-term contracts;
  • Abolish the ‘starting out wage’ for young people;
  • Review and amend employment laws to ensure that casualisation employment practices are fair and just to all parties and work to achieve better job security for individuals now employed on a permanent ‘casual’ basis;
  • Allocate sufficient resources so that there is greater emphasis on training (small employers/new entrants to workforce) and WorkSafe NZ inspections
  • Raise the minimum wage to $18 an hour by 2017;
  • Establish a taskforce to investigate the economic and social effects of a 35-hour working week in New Zealand;
  • Supporting employment relations policies that encourage collective bargaining, to ensure transparency of wage setting;
  • Reviewing legislation and amending it as needed in order to promote and ensure equal employment opportunities and pay equity.
Maori Party
  • Introduce a living wage of $18.80 for all employees;
  • Double Māori and Pasifika Trade Training from 3000 to 6000 placements per annum;
  • Establish a working party to calculate tax credits for people who make regular contributions to our economy through volunteering, unpaid or community work.
  • Introduce a living wage of $18.80 an hour for all employees and index it at 66% of the average wage. Additionally they would repeal youth rates for workers aged 16-17 years;
  • Require employers to offer extra hours to existing staff up to 40 hours a week before hiring new staff;
  • Abolish the 90 day trial period and double employee entitlements to sick leave;
  • Increase paid parental leave to 12 months;
  • Make Matariki Day a new public holiday;
  • Support changes to employment relations laws to give workers greater bargaining power to negotiate wages and conditions with their employers, including the right to strike
  • Increase trial periods up to 12 months;
  • Offer workers who are paid more than $100,000 a year the opportunity to opt out of personal grievance provisions;
  • Abolish reinstatement as a remedy for unfair dismissal;
  • Repeal Part 6A of the ERA which regulates the continuity of employment when there is a transfer of undertakings, such as for cleaning contractors.
  • The first $20,000 earned per year would be tax free.

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