Employment law 2023: what lies ahead?

Welcome to 2023! We wish to take this opportunity to give you a bit of an insight into the employment law landscape for 2023 as well as introduce you to the full team.

With the announcement of the Prime Minister’s resignation, and the General Election set for 14 October 2023, be prepared for a busy but disrupted year in the employment space.

Late 2022 saw the Fair Pay Agreements Bill become law. We have already seen some activity in this space with four applications for bargaining being lodged with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for approval, including:

  • the Hospitality related – General application;
  • the Interurban, rural, and urban bus transport – Bus and coach drivers;
  • the Interurban, rural, and urban bus transport – Bus drivers, coach drivers and cleaners; and
  • the Supermarket and grocery store – General.

Fair Pay Agreements are one of the biggest changes to employment law since the introduction of the Employment Relations Act 2000.  It is going to be very interesting to see how these applications, negotiations, legislation and regulations develop.

We are also waiting for a draft Bill in relation to the government’s Income Insurance Scheme. The proposed scheme would help to better protect and support workers whose ability to work is impacted by a health condition, disability or redundancy. The Scheme works by enabling these workers to have time to recover, financial security during their recovery, and finally assisting them to find suitable future employment. Similar to ACC, this scheme would be funded by levies on wages and salaries, with both employers and workers contributing. We have no timeline on when this proposal will be progressed.

The government’s taskforce into amending the Holidays Act 2003 has been slow to progress. However, it has been confirmed that the taskforce’s recommendations and amendments to the Act have been accepted by the government. These amendments to the Act will likely occur this year and include that sick leave, bereavement leave and family violence leave will become accessible to employees from their first day of employment. Sick leave will also begin accruing from the first day of employment.

Although it is always challenging to guess what any year is going to look like, the talk of financial downturn always results in organisations looking to restructure their businesses. This can lead to redundancies. If employers are considering going down this track, we always advise obtaining legal advice on this complex process, as well as reviewing employment agreements and policies, to ensure you understand your employees’ entitlements before commencing such a process.

As this is also election year, we will start to see the various parties proposed changes to employment law, if they are elected. Although we are awaiting formal policy announcements, National have already indicated that if they become government, they will repeal the Fair Pay Agreements legislation and possibly reintroduce trial periods for employers with more than 20 employees.

In the first quarter of 2023 we will be looking to undertake employment law webinars and seminars around New Zealand.  Please click here to complete a very short survey that will help us to obtain an understanding of what topics you may be most interested in for 2023.

For many of our clients and referrers, we are your first port of call.  However, we know that you are also advised by our full team, so we wanted to take this opportunity to reintroduce you to our 2023 team, below.

We wish you and your businesses every success in 2023 and we look forward to working with you along the way.

Andrew, Fiona, Andy and the entire Lane Neave Employment Team

Meet the team that makes
things simple.

Andrew Shaw
Fiona McMillan
Andy Bell
Maria Green
Gwen Drewitt
Joseph Harrop
Holly Struckman
Jack Whittam
Elisabeth Giles
Tamsin Woolf
Helena Scholes

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Lane Neave is not able to provide legal opinion or advice without specific instructions from you and the completion of all formal engagement processes.