MBIE Report on law change effectiveness.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment has just released a report on the impact of recent changes to the Employment Relations Act and the Holidays Act. Amendments were introduced to both acts in 2010 with most changes taking effect from April 2011. The report focused on the following key areas:

Allowing all employers the option to use 90 day trial periods –

Survey results found about one third of employers had hired people they otherwise wouldn’t have, because of the 90 day trial legislation.

Reduction in complexity of the Holidays Act –

The report concludes that the changes to cashing up leave, relaxing restrictions on sick leave management and transfer of public holidays have all helped. However the Act is still seen as inherently cumbersome – particularly in sectors with high levels of variable hours worked.

Changes to problem resolution processes (PGs and related matters) -

Changes to these processes have had limited impact and in some cases have increased compliance costs – partly because of the increased emphasis on correct procedures.

The report also found that the uptake of changes introduced had been affected by varying levels of understanding – particularly by employees, and that further legislated changes should be clearly and consistently communicated to both employers and employees.

This report echoes my own experiences, in particular with the process in relation to problem-solving. It seems to me that employees have become increasingly “aware of their rights” and the processes have become longer and more drawn out. All the more reason to ensure employers do things fairly from the start.

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