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Government’s employment relations priorities a welcome step in the right direction says EMA

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) says businesses across the country will welcome the government’s new employment relations priorities announced yesterday by the Workplace Relations and Safety Minister.

EMA Head of Advocacy Alan McDonald says that in recent years areas of workplace relations legislation had become overly complex, and this wasn’t serving either employers or employees well.

“The Holidays Act, for example, is a shambles. The Act is so complex that businesses struggle to understand their obligations, resulting in miscalculations and unintentional errors,” says McDonald.

“That is why we strongly support the Minister’s commitment to ensuring the changes to the Holiday’s Act are workable and are an improvement on the status quo.”

McDonald says there is no need for a lengthy consultation period around the Holidays Act given the issues are well known.

“Government officials, employers and unions all acknowledge the Holidays Act is broken. The good news is that a lot of work has already been done identifying solutions, including introducing an accrual model, so now we need to get on and fix it up.”

McDonald says businesses will also welcome moves by the government to simplify health and safety legislation.

“We know that there are too many people being hurt at work, but one of the problems is that we have created an overly complex system of compliance that hasn’t delivered any meaningful change.

“A review of our health and safety framework is required so that we are creating a system that is not just about ticking boxes but is focussed on creating an environment that keeps workers safe.

“We are also supportive of a wider review of the Employment Relations Act so that it remains fit for purpose in the modern employment market,” adds McDonald.

“The way we are working is changing, and our employment legislation needs to reflect this. That is why we back any moves that improve the flexibility of the employment market.

“We know that flexible employment markets are critical to supporting a more productive economy, and this is good news for everyone because productive economies deliver more higher paying jobs.”

McDonald says the EMA looks forward to working with the Minister as she progresses her priorities.

“We believe that the Minister’s priorities are a step in the right direction, and her commitment to cutting the red tape holding employers and employees back is important if we want New Zealand to realise its potential.”

 

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