Employment law changes at a glance

The Government has proposed a law to restore unions’ ability to protect workers and help lift their pay and conditions. This recognises the union dividend – the fact that union members earn more and have better conditions than non-union workers.

E tū knows working people need higher pay which in turn will benefit economic growth. Prosperity does not trickle down from the wealthy but is the result of workers earning more and spending this in their local community.

The planned changes will reverse many of the more than 30 law changes by the National Government to hobble unions and benefit their employer mates at the expense of their workers. This is a huge change which E tū welcomes and embraces. Below, we report on a few of the changes and how they will benefit our members.

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill at a glance:

  • Restoration of rest and meal breaks
  • Abolition of 90 day trials, except for employers with fewer than 20 workers
  • Reinstatement restored in cases of unfair dismissal
  • Bolstering protections for vulnerable workers
  • Restoring the right of employers to conclude bargaining
  • Removing the right of employers to opt out of a Multi-Employer Collective Agreement
  • Restoring collective agreement coverage for new employees for the first 30 days
  • Repealing pay deductions for low level industrial action
  • Restoring union access without prior employer consent
  • Requiring pay rates to be included in collective agreements
  • Delegates to have reasonable work time to carry out their role
  • Employers will be required to pass on information about unions onsite to new workers
  • Greater protections against discrimination against union members

The 90-day ‘fire at will’ law

90-day trials will be history for big employers under the proposed labour law changes. Probationary periods will still be allowed but with greater protections for workers, which E tū supports.

However, we oppose the decision to exempt firms with fewer than 20 workers. Figures show tens of thousands of people have been sacked under these trials, many multiple times.