NZ’s employment sector is preparing for a period of change following the election of the Ardern Labour Government in October.
NZ Labour campaigned on an agenda of change for the employment sector, including an increase in the minimum wage, the introduction of Fair Pay Agreements, changes to the 90-trial period for new workers and a commitment to paying the Living Wage to all workers in the core public service, extending it to contractors over time. It also committed to implement recommended changes to the Equal Pay Act to give all women in female-dominated workforces access to collective bargaining and courts to settle claims.
The employment sector has expressed some concern around the impact of the proposals on affordability of employees, staffing levels, quality of labour and increasing costs for smaller operators.
With the new Government a complex union of three political parties however, just how much of Labour’s ambitious agenda will be achieved in coalition remains to be seen. That said, while it’s true that coalition can make implementing policy agendas more difficult, NZ First, The Greens and Labour are largely aligned on broad directions for employment relations policy.
RCSA has worked effectively with Labour in opposition on its Future of Work Report and we share strong alignment on both the importance of labour market intermediaries in a modern and progressive NZ economy and on our commitment to ethical operation within the sector.
As an established voice on these issues, we look forward to working with the incoming government on behalf of the recruitment sector to help achieve the right balance between flexibility, adaptability and responsibility in employment relations policy.
New Workplace Relations and Safety Minister (Cabinet) Hon Iain Lees-Galloway is a former Student activist and employee of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, NZs largest trade union representing the nursing profession, midwives and caregivers. He became a politician in 2008 and has held several portfolios in opposition including Veteran’s Affairs, Transport and Land Information and associate spokesperson for Health and defence.