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Changes to Employment Relations Act – May 2019

Employers are required to be fully compliant with all employment law changes – these new additions and amendments to the Employment Relations Act are more significant than previous ones, as the Unions are now given the right to insist that they access the workplace, so you need to be fully prepared.

Clicking the Find Out More button will put you in contact with one of our HR Consultants, who will be able to assist you with any or all of the below-mentioned amendments to the Employment Relations Act over Skype, Zoom or face to face at your premises.

employment relations amendments 2019

Key changes to the Employment Relations Amendment Act coming into effect 6 May or sooner are as follows:

  • Union access to workplace

Currently: Presently Union reps require consent before entering a workplace.

What’s Changed: The amendments will remove the right of the employer to refuse access in some situations.

Impact on Employers: Employers will need to be ready to demonstrate HR processes on demand

  • Paid time for union delegates on union business

Currently: Presently union delegates are not paid for time spent on union business – which must be conducted out of standard working hours.

What’s Changed: Employers will be required to allow paid time for delegates to work on union business.
Impact on Employers: Employers will need to qualify and agree on what is reasonable in terms of time allowed.

  • Union collective agreements

What’s Changed: Unions will have the right to tell an employer what they must provide to prospective employees in some situations.
New employees must be employed on the same terms and conditions as the union collective agreement for a minimum of 30 days at outset of their employment, even if they are not union members.

Impact on Employers: Employers will be required to comply with union requirements on information transparency in specific situations.
Employers will be required to ensure they are aware with and comply with all union collective agreements

  • Personal grievance remedies

Currently: Employment grievances are settled and both parties move on regardless of the outcome.
What’s Changed: If an employee wins a personal grievance case, they may have the right to be reinstated in the job.
Impact on Employers: Employers will need to follow increasingly robust employee performance management processes to avoid Personal Grievances.

  • Rest & meal breaks

Currently: Employees are flexible with break times to fit in with business requirements.
What’s Changed: Employers are required to establish clear break times and lengths and have responsibility for adherence to schedule to ensure all workers take regular breaks.
Impact on Employers: Workplace shift scheduling will become increasingly important

  • 90 day trial changes for businesses with 20+ employees

Currently: All business owners may enforce 90 Day Trial Clauses in Individual Employment Agreements.
What’s Changed: Employers with 20 or more employees may no longer include 90 Day Trial in Employment contracts.
Impact on Employers: Recruitment, reference checking & onboarding processes become increasingly important for employers.

  • Vulnerable workers

Currently: On winning a contract, employers are not required to retain workers from the previous incumbent.
What’s Changed: Vulnerable workers will be protected under the new regulations and incoming employers will be required to retain employees.
Impact on Employers: Robust processes for onboarding new employees and performance management will be required.

Each of these changes should be discussed in more detail with your lawyer and HR expert to ensure your business is compliant and that you are prepared.

Our consultants will be available to discuss each of these changes with you in person, over Skype or Zoom or over the phone.
To book a time for a free consultation, please follow this link or contact our office to secure an appointment