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There have been many changes around New Zealand workplace and labour laws recently. In this edition of The Brief, Founder and CEO Col Levander details some of the key recent industry updates and information relevant to RCSA NZ members.

According to the Fair Pay Agreements Working Group:

“Our first step was to take a holistic view of our labour market: looking backwards at how our current labour market is operating, and looking ahead to the global megatrends that will shape our labour market over the coming decades. New Zealand’s labour market has seen big changes over the last 30-40 years. Over the coming decades, technological change, globalisation, demographic change and climate change will continue to affect the demand for labour and skills.”

NZ Government’s vision is for:

• A highly skilled and innovative economy that provides good jobs, decent work conditions and fair wages while boosting economic growth and productivity.

• Lifting the conditions of New Zealand workers, businesses benefit through improved worker engagement, productivity and better workplaces.

• An employment relations framework that creates a level playing field where good employers are not disadvantaged by paying reasonable, industry-standard wages.

• Meeting New Zealand’s obligation to promote and encourage the setting of terms and conditions of employment by way of collective bargaining between workers, workers’ representatives, employers and their representatives.

What are NZ Fair Pay Agreements (FPA)?

Fair pay agreements are a set of terms and conditions of employment for an occupational group or sector. They will be agreed through bargaining between affected workers and employers and will then become legal requirements in that sector.

How are they different from Collective Agreements?

Fair pay agreements are aimed at industries and workers who have not been able to influence their terms and conditions through collective agreement negotiations.

Key FPA points that will change in 2021:

  • Sick leave - changing from 5 days to 10 days (based on when employment began)

  • Pay equity - new criteria will bring new processes which will address the pay equity and gender equity gaps

  • Fair Pay Agreements - simpler legislation, better agreements and processes and the raising of the minimum wage from $18.90 to $20.00 from April 1, 2021

  • Holidays Act - the current act does not deal in a clear and straightforward way for modern working conditions. Employers have called for a simplification of leave calculations and to push for entitlements to accrue, rather than be available every six or 12 months.

  • Dependent Contractors - opening the right to bargain and how they are viewed under the law

In closing, these changes are before cabinet, have not been passed yet and are proposed changes. If this were to come into effect it has been flagged at sometime between May and July; and only time will tell.

Ratescalc senior leadership has been in collaboration with a number of key stakeholders in New Zealand including leading staffing companies to gauge their thoughts on these changes. The opinions are quite mixed in what the eventual outcome will be, however there is no doubt that this will present significant challenges for the whole of New Zealand’s Industry.

At present, the main focus is the changes to the holiday act and leave which is high priority for all including payroll providers and software vendors supporting these functions.

Ratescalc will launch its world-class, multi-award winning software for the New Zealand market in late April 2021 and will provide members with more updates on a regular basis, as we do for the Australian membership also.

Read the recommendations from the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group, 2018 here.

To find out more about this unique software platform, contact the team at or visit their website.

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