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latest news in employment law

Employment Relations Amendment Bill 2018

Published 02 Jul 2018

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill 2018 which was introduced in January still remains in the early stages with Parliament's Select Committee. There are 2 more 'readings' and a 'Committee of the whole House' debate to go yet. It's not even due back from the Select Committee until September this year, so don't expect changes anytime soon.

The controversial Bill threatens to undo many of the gains made in employment relations over the past few decades. If passed, the Employment Relations Amendment Bill 2018 will not only seriously reduce employers’ ability to engage and develop staff, but also has the potential to put the brakes on business growth particularly for small to medium enterprises.

As it stands the main features are;

•    Employers with 20 or more employees will lose the right to include trial periods in employment agreements.
•    Allowing union reps access to workplaces without any permission.
•    Forcing businesses to settle collective agreements even if they don’t or can’t agree.
•    Not allowing businesses a choice to opt out of a multi-employer collective agreement (MECA).

"Ending the starting out wage, removing 90 day trials for businesses with more than 20 staff, consecutive unsustainable leaps in the minimum wage, reducing flexibility, and 70s style standardised wages bargaining will all increase risks and costs for small and medium-sized businesses" National’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Scott Simpson says.

The main question we currently get asked is can you still use the 90 Day Trial Period? The answer is a resounding Yes for everybody until further notice.

For more info on the 90 Day Trial Period, tools and letters please see this page.