Employment relations changes: an update

Acts / 30 November 2018
Employment relations changes: an update

In September 2018 we wrote about the proposed Employment Relations Act Amendment Bill.  You can read more about the Bill here.  Following the Select Committee second reading this week, small amendments have been made to the Bill, including:

  • clarification that employers are not required to conclude a multi-employer collective agreement where there are reasonable grounds to refuse;
  • clarification that unions will be responsible for providing the information to employers in the form in which they want it provided to prospective employees;
  • increasing the timeframe for employers to assess union information to decide whether it meets the grounds to refuse to provide it to employees to 15 days;
  • increasing the timeframe employees’ have to indicate whether they intend to join a union to 30 days;
  • clarification about paid time for union delegates to undertake union activities, which is to be paid at the same rate as normal work duties;
  • removal of references to pay ranges, so that collective agreements must either include minimum or actual remuneration rates as well as an indication about how these may change during the term;
  • a requirement that unions seek consent before entering workplaces without a collective agreement;
  • confirmation non-union members are permitted to request union assistance with health and safety matters; and
  • providing for how changes to categories of “vulnerable employees” may be made.

The Bill is expected to pass before Christmas and come into force on 6 May 2019.  We will continue to monitor its progress and update you on any further changes, and will be discussing what the changes mean for employers at seminars in early 2019.

In the meantime, if you have any concerns or queries about these upcoming changes, please contact our team.

Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law and health and safety topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations.  Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.

November 2018

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