9.05.2018

Once upon a time, there was a Bill…

Way way back, during the 2011 election campaign, National made a promise to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000.  Following what has proven to be a long-winded saga featuring criminal convictions, resignations, Kim Dotcom, and another election, those changes have finally passed.  Whew!

During the last parliamentary term, in early 2013, the Government introduced the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, which we have examined in past updates The Employment Relations Act Gets a Makeover and Legislation Update.   In short, the Bill proposed changes to the duty of good faith, flexible working arrangements, rest and meal breaks, strikes and lockouts, and collective bargaining.

The Bill passed its first reading in June 2013 along ideological lines.  From that point, it was spirited off to Select Committee, which dutifully produced a report in December 2013 recommending, by majority, that the Bill pass with some amendments.  A second reading was then held, and it looked as if the Bill was on track to become law.

However, the Bill then ran into trouble in the form of an Act MP and some ‘anonymous’ donations.  John Banks’ conviction and subsequent resignation from Parliament following Kim Dotcom’s contributions to his 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign meant that the Government could not assemble enough votes to get the Bill across the line.

Sent to the sidelines, the Bill remained on the periphery during the most recent election campaign.  Unlike in 2011, changes to the Employment Relations Act were not an election issue – Dirty Politics drowned out everything else.

However, the election brought National an increased majority in Parliament.  As such, the Bill was whisked off the sidelines and straight into the starting lineup as the first piece of legislation to be considered by the new Parliament.  Having been debated by Parliament once again (including 12 further proposed amendments), the Bill moved into its third reading and was passed on 30 October, supported by National, Act and United Future and opposed by Labour, the Greens, NZ First and the Maori Party.

So what next for the Bill?  It will soon go to the Governor General to receive the Royal assent.  Once that happens, it will take effect four months later – so, in reality, the changes to the Employment Relations Act are likely to kick in in March/April next year.

While the changes to rest and meal breaks seem to have received all the attention this time, there are other significant changes, including to collective bargaining.  If you would like further information, check out our earlier articles (links above) or feel free to give us a call.

Do you need expert legal advice?
Contact the expert team at Hesketh Henry.
Kerry_100x100 1
Media contact - Kerry Browne
Please contact Kerry with any media enquiries and with any questions related to marketing or sponsorships on +64 9 375 8747 or via email.

Related Articles / Insights & Opinion

Updated Subcontract Agreement: SA-2017
The SA-2009 form of Subcontract Agreement is commonly used in the construction industry. It has undergone a review and a new SA-2017 form has been produced.
3.07.2018 Posted in Construction Law & Health & Safety Law
Distribution Agreements – 6 Key Considerations
While the exact nature and terms of a distribution agreement will vary between industries and jurisdictions, these 6 issues will always be important.
28.06.2018 Posted in Corporate & Commercial law
Continued Importance of IP Protection for Manufacturers
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has recently released a report which identified key trends and challenges for the manufacturing sector (that report can be accessed here). Th...
28.06.2018 Posted in Corporate & Commercial law
CONSTRUCTION LAW UPDATE – JUNE 2018
Recent Construction Law Decisions and Developments in New Zealand
18.06.2018 Posted in Construction Law
Updated Standard Consultancy Agreements
Two of the most commonly used standard agreements to engage consultants are the ACENZ / Engineering New Zealand (formerly IPENZ) Short Form Agreement (“SFA”) and the Conditions of Contract for Consultancy Services (“CCCS”).
5.06.2018 Posted in Construction Law
Managing Employees’ Mental Health Issues
Ministry of Health statistics confirm that during 2016, 169,454 people accessed mental health services in New Zealand. The law of averages suggests that most workplaces will – to a lesser or greater degree – be affected at some time by an employee’s mental health issue.
31.05.2018 Posted in Employment Law & Health & Safety Law
Managing Medical Incapacity: Enough To Make You Feel Sick?
Managers and HR practitioners often tell us that dealing with employees who are genuinely too sick or injured to work is one of their least favourite tasks. Frankly, we can see why.
31.05.2018 Posted in Employment Law
Send us an enquiry
For expert legal advice, please complete the form below or call us on (09) 375 8700.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.