Feed­back sought on em­ploy­ment stan­dards

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

Labour Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges has re­leased a dis­cus­sion doc­u­ment seek­ing feed­back on ways to strengthen the en­force­ment of New Zealand’s min­i­mum em­ploy­ment stan­dards to stamp out ex­ploita­tion.

“Em­ploy­ment stan­dards pro­tect work­ers by set­ting out min­i­mum em­ploy­ment rights and en­ti­tle­ments, such as min­i­mum wage rates and an­nual leave,” says Bridges.

“While the ma­jor­ity of em­ploy­ers in New Zealand com­ply with the em­ploy­ment stan­dards, there are a con­cern­ing num­ber of re­ports of se­ri­ous and sys­temic breaches, which in­clude prac­tices that ex­ploit vul­ner­a­ble and mi­grant work­ers.

“New Zealand’s em­ploy­ment stan­dards are not op­tional and this govern­ment is com­mit­ted to stamp­ing out dodgy and de­lib­er­ate em­ploy­ment breaches.”

The re­lease of the dis­cus­sion doc­u­ment ‘Play­ing by the rules: Strength­en­ing en­force­ment of em­ploy­ment stan­dards’ out­lines a range of op­tions to im­prove the en­force­ment sys­tem, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on:

• En­sur­ing sanc­tions are an

ef­fec­tive de­ter­rent.

• Adapt­ing the en­force­ment ap­proach of the Labour In­spec­torate to in­crease the chances of iden­ti­fy­ing em­ploy­ers who break the law.

• Im­prov­ing in­for­ma­tion on how to com­ply and deal with al­leged breaches and im­prov­ing the pro­cesses for deal­ing with them. “We are op­er­at­ing in an in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive labour mar­ket,” says Bridges. “When these laws are bro­ken, em­ploy­ers not only harm their staff, they gain an un­fair ad­van­tage over their com­peti­tors, and dam­age New Zealand’s rep­u­ta­tion as a place to work and do busi­ness.

“Our em­ploy­ment stan­dards en­force­ment sys­tem needs to ef­fec­tively dis­cour­age and pe­nalise un­scrupu­lous be­hav­iour to pro­tect our most vul­ner­a­ble work­ers and pro­mote a level play­ing field for all mar­ket play­ers.”

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