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Election Update - Potential Incoming Changes to Employment Landscape

Published 19 Oct 2023

Labour is out after suffering a catastrophic defeat in the election & the incoming National/Act led Government, with the potential of New Zealand First as a coalition partner is set to take over the reins.

So, what does this mean for the employment landscape, including any potential changes to employment law? Overall, the change of Government represents very positive news for businesses and employers.

Below is a summary of National’s, Act’s and New Zealand First’s key workplace related polices:

  • Abolish Fair Pay Agreements;
  • Reintroduce 90 Day Trial Periods for larger employers (who employ more than 20 employees);
  • Allow parents to take paid parental leave at the same time;
  • Axing the requirement for the Reserve Bank to focus on maximising sustainable employment, which National argues makes it harder to reduce inflation;
  • Strengthening workforce development and regional employment initiatives;
  • Various immigration changes to relax the rules to encourage more migrant workers from overseas to NZ;
  • Incentivising beneficiaries to stay off social welfare for those who stay in work for more than 1 year.
  • Abolish Fair Pay Agreements;
  • Reintroduce 90 Day Trial Periods for larger employers (who employ more than 20 employees);
  • Place a moratorium on minimum wage increases for three years;
  • Remove eligibility for remedies associated with personal grievances where an employee is at fault & reduce the costs of unfounded claims;
  • Remove the ability of unilateral reinstatement by the Employment Relations Authority. Currently, ‘reinstatement’ of an employee back to their job is a primary remedy;
  • Remove January 2nd public holiday to ‘help small businesses absorb the cost of Matariki’;
  • Introduce an hours-based accrual system for annual leave, which Act believes will make it significantly easier to calculate entitlements and remove the need for pay-as-you-go holiday pay;
  • Abolish Government KiwiSaver contributions for those on more than $65,000 per annum;
  • Require the Employment Relations Authority to issue all determinations within one month;
  • Prevent contractors from challenging their employment status.
NZ First
  • Reintroduce 90 Day Trial Periods and expand their use to more small businesses;
  • Compensate people who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 vaccination requirements, and end all vaccine mandates;
  • Reestablish Careers New Zealand to assist people into work;
  • Freeze MP salaries until frontline workers receive pay rises;
  • Reduce red tape challenges that hold all small business back;
  • Promote a ‘seniors employment plan’ to support seniors into gainful employment;
  • Streamline and targeted apprenticeship support to increase N.Z’s skilled workforce, including assisting with the cost of staff training.