NZ redundancy focus of report
‘‘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.