Govt announces major changes to employment law

Drive 25/01/2018

The Government has taken an important step toward creating a high-performing economy that delivers good jobs, decent work conditions and fair wages, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway after the Labour-led government announced a new Bill to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000.

Legislation will be introduced to Parliament next week that will scrap 90-day trial periods for businesses with more than 20 employees.

To go over the finer details of the changes Stephen McIvor joined Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway on RadioLIVE Drive. 

Major roll-backs are:

  • Restoration of statutory rest and meal breaks
  • Restriction of 90 day trial periods to SME employers (less than 20 employees)
  • Reinstatement will be restored as the primary remedy to unfair dismissal
  • Further protections for employees in the "vulnerable industries" (Part 6A)
  • Restoration of the duty to conclude bargaining unless there is a good reason not to
  • Restoration of the earlier initiation timeframes for unions in collective bargaining
  • Removal of the MECA opt out where employers can refuse to bargain for a multi-employer collective agreement
  • Restoration of the 30 day rule where for the first 30 days new employees must be employed under terms consistent with the collective agreement
  • Repeal of partial strike pay deductions 
  • Restoration of union access without prior employer consent

New proposals are:

  • A requirement to include pay rates in collective agreements
  • A requirement for employers to provide reasonable paid time for union delegates to represent other workers (for example in collective bargaining)
  • A requirement for employers to pass on information about unions in the workplace to prospective employees along with a form for the employee to indicate whether they want to be a member
  • Greater protections against discrimination for union members including an extension of the 12 month threshold to 18 months relating to discrimination based on union activities and new protections against discrimination on the basis of being a union member.

Listen to the full interview with Iain Lees-Galloway above.

Drive with Stephen McIvor- in for Ali Mau, weekdays from 3pm-6pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the ROVA app on Android and iPhone.