January 2018 . . . The Government has announced its initial changes to employment law, which it says are aimed at restoring the balance that had “tipped away from fair working conditions for workers.”
Chief amongst the changes announced is limiting the use of 90 day trial period provisions to employers with less than 20 employees.
Other proposed amendments include removing (with some limited exceptions)the flexibility employers currently have around setting rest and meal breaks, more comprehensive protections for vulnerable employees (cleaners and food service workers), and strengthening the hand of unions, particularly during collective bargaining.
Many of the changes are effectively a roll-back of legislation introduced under the previous National-led government.
While it is still early days (a draft Bill has not yet been released) we suspect the new laws may come into force on or around 1 April. All employers can continue to use 90 day trial periods for now, but it remains to be seen whether larger employers who use 90 day trial periods during the coming weeks will be able to rely on them once the changes have passed.
We will provide further updates as the proposed law is introduced and progresses through Parliament.