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Cabinet Approved Employment Law Changes

Published 18 May 2012

The 14th of May saw Cabinet approve a number of proposed changes to employment law. It is expected that they will go before Parliament for approval later this year.

Some changes were discussed in early 2012 and they include giving all employees the right to request flexible hours and changes to the legislation relating to union activities and rights. 

Some of the key proposed changes
  • Removal of the current “30 day rule” whereby new employees who are non union members must be employed for the first 30 days on the same terms as the collective employment agreement, where there is a current collective agreement covering the position;

  • Employers being given the right to initiate collective bargaining at the same time as the Unions. The current law permits unions to initiate collective bargaining 20 days before the employer can initiate;

  • Extension to the requirements to provide notice of strike action (Unions) or a lock out (Employers), and allow partial pay reductions in the event of partial strikes;

  • The changes would remove the current requirement for the parties to conclude a collective agreement when collective bargaining. The last Labour Government amended the law to require employers to enter into bargaining in good faith and to conclude the bargaining of collective agreements;

  • Employers would be permitted to opt out of multi-employer bargaining