Summary: What’s on the Horizon for 2024 webinar

Employment Law, Health and Safety, Government, Immigration, Seminar / 21 March 2024
Summary: What’s on the Horizon for 2024 webinar

We recently hosted the “What’s on the Horizon for 2024?” webinar covering recent and upcoming changes in employment, immigration and health and safety.  We summarise what was discussed below.

Legislative Changes

The following law changes have already been made:

Employment Relations (Trial Periods) Amendment Act 2023

Following a recent law change, any employer may employ a new employee on a trial period for up to the first 90 days of their employment. This is only applicable to employees who have not worked for that employer before and is valid in any industry and for any job. For more information on trial periods see our previous article.

Fair Pay Agreements Repeal Act 2023

The Fair Pay Agreement regime was repealed before Christmas 2023, which effectively halted negotiations for the six fair pay agreements which were already underway in six industries.

Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act 2023

The Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act 2023 came into force from 6 January 2024, and we have previously discussed the effect of this legislation here and here.

In short, the Act introduces three new immigration infringements offence which captures employees that:

  1. Allow a person who is not entitled under the Immigration Act to work in the employer’s service to do that work.
  2. Employ a person in a manner that is inconsistent with a work-related condition of that person’s visa.
  3. Fail to comply with a request to supply documents within 10 working days.

It also enables the Chief Executive of MBIE to publish the names of employers who offend against the Immigration Act.

The following Bills are still before the house from the previous government, and the current government has not yet indicated a position on these:

  • Employment Relations (Protection for KiwiSaver Members) Bill 2023 which we previously discussed here, which would in effect make it unlawful for employers can no longer contribute to KiwiSaver under “total remuneration” package terms.
  • Crimes (Theft by Employer) Amendment Bill 2023 which seeks to amend the Crimes Act 1961 to criminalise intentional acts by employers to not pay employee remuneration, which we previous wrote about here.
  • Employment Relations (Restraint of Trade) Amendment Bill 2023, which would if enacted ban restraints of trade except for employees earning at least three times the minimum wage and require half payment of wages for the entire restraint period for any employee bound by a restraint of trade. We previously wrote about this here.
  • Human Rights (Prohibition of Discrimination on Grounds of Gender Identity or Expression, and Variations of Sex Characteristics) Amendment Bill 2023, which seeks to introduce new grounds of discrimination, which has been postponed for debate by the House until further notice. We previously discussed the effect of this bill here.

Finally, the following changes have been promised by the current coalition government, but we have yet to see any Bills, or other indication as to the details of these:

  • Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987, to share entitlements between parents, as we discussed here.
  • Simplification/limitation of personal grievances, for example, excluding grievance claims by employees earning over a certain income threshold.
  • Limiting challenges to contractor agreements.
  • Removing reinstatement as a remedy for personal grievance claims.
  • Allowing for immediate dismissal of employees to blame for breaching health and safety duties.

Other key workplace issues

We also discussed immigration changes and Immigration New Zealand’s focus at present, and themes in terms of workplace issues that continue to progress including in the courts, including around tikanga and mental health.

AI in the Workplace

Finally, we discussed privacy obligations for workplaces using AI tools, and suggested workplace policies on this which should cover, in summary whether AI is permitted in the workplace and if so, its proper uses and limitations.

And, some of the issues coming up around using AI for recruitment, and in collective bargaining.

Message for Employers

If you have any questions about the topics above and the impact for your workplace, or would like to chat to one of our team for more information, please get in touch. A recording of our “What’s on the Horizon for 2024?” webinar is still available for purchase.

For more information about our upcoming seminar and workshop series, see our website

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.


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