NZ re­dun­dancy fo­cus of re­port

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‘‘New Zealand law does not es­tab­lish a min­i­mum re­dun­dancy no­tice pe­riod.’’

The Gov­ern­ment must act on an OECD call for em­ploy­ers to of­fer work­ers a min­i­mum re­dun­dancy no­tice pe­riod and pre­pare them for a new job, First Union says.

The OECD re­port ti­tled Back to Work New Zealand found that many New Zealan­ders who are made re­dun­dant in com­pany re­struc­tures or bank­ruptcy, are forced to take up new jobs with 20 per cent less pay on av­er­age, even af­ter three years.

Although the New Zealand reem­ploy­ment rate is not con­sid­er­ably lower than other OECD coun­tries, work­ers typ­i­cally pick up jobs with shorter hours and fewer ben­e­fits, the re­port says.

The most vul­ner­a­ble are lowskilled work­ers, sug­gest­ing New Zealand em­ploy­ers need to strengthen train­ing guid­ance, the OECD says.

Un-ed­u­cated work­ers are three times more likely to face re­dun­dancy than those with a ter­tiary qual­i­fi­ca­tion, the re­port says.

First Union has told work­place re­la­tions min­is­ter Michael Woodhouse he needs to act on the OECD’s sug­ges­tions to en­force em­ployee up­skilling and a min­i­mum re­dun­dancy no­tice pe­riod.

‘‘The OECD’s find­ings con­sti­tute an ur­gent call to ac­tion, but here’s our work­place re­la­tions min­is­ter shrug­ging his shoul­ders and say­ing we have the bal­ance right,’’ First Union gen­eral secretary Robert Reid said.

Woodhouse has been ap­proached for com­ment.

White col­lar corporate em­ploy­ees were given 15 days on av­er­age to pre­pare for un­em­ploy­ment, based on 2013 fig­ures in the re­port.

Blue col­lar labour­ers were given an av­er­age of only nine days.

Unions want at least one month’s no­tice in col­lec­tive agree­ment for work­ers made re­dun­dant af­ter fouryears in the job, the re­port says.

Dundas Street em­ploy­ment lawyer Su­san Hornsby-Geluk said the law did not set a min­i­mum re­dun­dancy no­tice pe­riod.

‘‘It is a mat­ter of con­tract. It could be any­thing from a day to a year,’’ she said.

If no no­tice pe­riod is men­tioned in an em­ployee’s con­tract, the no­tice pe­riod is ex­pected to be ‘rea­son­able’ which is gen­er­ally two weeks to a month, she said.

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