Legislation Updates – September
General, Acts, Government, Health and Safety, Employment Law / 20 September 2023
Employment Relations (Protection for KiwiSaver Members) Amendment Bill
The Employment Relations (Protection for KiwiSaver Members) Amendment Bill passed its first reading on 30 August 2023.
This Bill if enacted will remove the ability to treat KiwiSaver contributions as part of an employee’s “total remuneration”.
The bill has been referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee and will be open for submissions until 30 October 2023.
A report is due back from the Finance and Expenditure Committee on 29 February 2024.
Crimes (Theft by Employer) Amendment Bill
The Crimes (Theft by Employer) Amendment Bill passed its first reading on 30 August 2023.
This Bill if enacted will amend the Crimes Act 1961 to clarify that not paying an employee wages owed can be treated as theft.
The Bill has been referred to the Education and Workforce Committee and will be open for submissions until 12 October 2023.
A report is due back from the Education and Workforce Committee on 29 February 2024.
Employment Relations (Restraint of Trade) Amendment Bill
The Employment Relations (Restraint of Trade) Amendment Bill had its first reading on the 26th of July 2023.
A restraint of trade in an employment agreement stops an employee from working in their field or for a competitor after the employment has ended with a specified restraint area for a specified time period.
This Bill, if enacted will ban restraint of trades except for employees earning at least three times the minimum wage, for a maximum of six months after the date on which the employment ends, and require half-payment of wages if an employee is bound by a restraint of trade for the entire restraint period.
This Bill has been referred to the Education and Workforce Committee and submissions closed at 11:59 on 18 September 2023.
A report is due back from the Education and Workforce Committee report on 24 January 2024.
Employment Relations (Trial Periods) Amendment Bill
The Employment Relations (Trial Periods) Amendment Bill was drawn from the ballot on 31 August 2023. If passed into law, it would amend the Employment Relations Act 2000 so as to reinstate the ability of employers of all sizes to hire new workers on 90-day trial periods.
Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Amendment Regulations 2023
The Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Amendment Regulations 2023 come into force on 1 April 2024 per an Order in Council made on 7 August 2023.
The amendment regulations will:
- Introduce a new duty for adventure operators to take all reasonable steps to inform persons seeking to participate in adventure activities of any serious risks they may be exposed to and a corresponding offence.
- Expand the registrar’s powers to decline, suspend, cancel and add conditions to adventure activity operator registrations, where justified on safety grounds and provide operators with rights to appeal and request review decisions where these powers are exercised.
- Establish a new registration process that requires adventure activity operators to register directly with the registrar (rather than indirectly via their safety auditor) and provide more detailed information upon registration.
- Introduce sector-specific notifiable incidents, requiring adventure operators to report near misses from key risks in the sector to WorkSafe.
Message for Employers
We will continue to update you as the above Bills progress through the parliamentary process. If you have questions about what this means for your business, please contact our team.
Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law, health and safety and immigration 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.