Changes to collective agreements, the 90-day trial period, strike action, and meal breaks.

wellington-beehive_buildingWhen things go wrong in an employment agreement both the employee and the employer  are expected to deal with each other in good faith to try to resolve the situation. If you can’t resolve the problem yourselves, NZ employment law provides processes for resolving grievances. Recently NZ Parliament passed workplace reforms

The law change bringing in workplace reforms, including the removal of the statutory right to meal and tea breaks, changes to the trial time and the legislation makes extensive changes to collective agreements, the 90-day trial period, and strike action.

The Employment Relations Amendment Bill was the first law change completed by Prime Minister John Key’s third-term government.

Among its key changes, the law will allow employers to walk away from negotiating a collective agreement, although they will first have to act in good faith.That requirement would not be met if they simply refused to agree because they were opposed in principle. Under changes to the right to meal and tea breaks, an employer would only have to provide “reasonable compensatory measures where an employee could not reasonably be provided with breaks”. That could be met by giving equivalent time off work. Read more about the Employment law changes here.

It is important when you enter into these processes that you have all the information and good legal advice and representation.  If you are involved in

  • bringing a “personal grievance”against your employer for unjustified dismissal or suspension or something illegal such as discriminating against you or sexually harassing you.
  • disputes about how your employment agreement should be interpreted
  • recovering unpaid wages

Employment law processes available for taking action against your employer can eventually involve mediation and/or going to the Employment Relations Authority

For more on resolving employment problems click here.

Click here to get in touch with the QCL employment team and find out how they can help with employment relationship problems.