Their feet are firmly under the table...

And now, the Labour government is introducing a raft of changes in employment and workplace law.

As an employer, here are the top 5 changes that you need to know about:


1. Trial Periods

After a study into the impact of the 90 day trial period, the government is scrapping the trial period for larger businesses, after no evidence was found that it helped high-risk job seekers.

The concept was originally introduced to encourage employers to trial employees that they might not ordinarily hire. However the study showed that it has had little effect. For smaller employers (fewer than 20 employees) the trial period can still be used.


2. Minimum Wage Increases

From 1 April, the adult minimum wage increases by $0.75 per hour and the starting-out and training wage rates both increase by $0.60 per hour. The government has also indicated that it is targeting a minimum wage of $20 by April 2021.


3. Pay Equity

The government has signalled that it intends to make changes to the Equal Pay Act. These changes include making it easier for women in female-dominated workforces to access collective bargaining as well as bringing claims for unfair pay. There are no timeframes at this stage but we will keep you informed of any changes.


4. Paid Parental Leave

From 1 July 2018, paid parental leave increases from 18 weeks to 22 weeks. We can expect further increases up to 26 weeks of leave from July 2020.


5. Rest and Meal Breaks

The government is currently looking into provisions to formalise rest and meal breaks. At the moment employees are entitled to rest and meal breaks that:

·         Give them a reasonable chance during work periods to rest, refresh and take care of personal matters

·         Are appropriate for the length of their working day with the employer.

Rest breaks benefit workplaces by helping employees work safely and productively. Employers must pay for minimum rest breaks but don’t have to pay for minimum meal breaks.

Again, there are no time frames at this stage but we will keep you informed of any changes.