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Wages up – Work secure – Labour policy

Written By: - Date published: 1:03 pm, July 30th, 2014 - 165 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, employment, health and safety, labour, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

Labour has today released its Work and Wages policy. An immediate lift in the minimum wage to $15, and a raise to $16.25 in April next year. 90 day free sacking option for employers to go in first 100 days. Core public service to get the Living Wage first, others to follow. That’ll put some money where it’s most needed.

Announcing the policy today, David Cunliffe said:

“Today we are committing to a ‘100 days’ programme to make positive changes to the lives of working New Zealanders. These include:

  • Immediately increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, with a further increase to $16.25 an hour in April 2015.
  • Aiming to raise the minimum wage to two-thirds of the average wage over two terms as conditions permit.
  • Ensuring all core public service workers are paid at least the Living Wage, and extending that as fiscal conditions allow.
  • Abolishing the Government’s 90 day dismissal law.
  • Reviewing health and safety laws and ensuring Worksafe New Zealand is adequately resourced.

“We will also charge a Commission of Inquiry with investigating wage setting and other workplace practices with a view to developing labour market regulation that makes it easier to negotiate fair pay and conditions, and encourages productive workplace relationships.

“Labour will boost wages and bring down unemployment so all Kiwis can afford a better life.”

You can read more including the full policy document here.

165 comments on “Wages up – Work secure – Labour policy”

  1. blue leopard 1

    Many people on the lowest wages are doing very important work and it is long past the time that doing such work was made affordable.

    It is a crying shame that employers have to be pushed to provide wages that employees can live on – however that is clearly the case – and I applaud Labour for the stance they are taking.

  2. Stifflittlefinger 2

    Watch the unemployment rate rise if this ever gets implemented.
    You can only bleed employers so much before they are forced to cut jobs.

    • Tracey 2.1

      Thanks chicken little

    • Shrubbery 2.2

      Protip: if low income workers are paid more, then they have more to spend. This is good for the economy. Businesses that are only viable because they underpay staff won’t do that well, but why would we encourage that sort of behaviour when we could encourage more viable business strategies?

    • wonderpup 2.3

      [citations needed]

      • McFlock 2.3.1

        [no citations exist]

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3.1.1

          [citations exist that show the opposite is true]

          • s y d 2.3.1.1.1

            Their solutions are our problems
            They put up the wall
            On each side time and prime us
            Make sure we get fuck all

            They play their games of power
            They try to mark the pack
            They deal us to the bottom
            But what do they put back?

            Don’t believe them
            Don’t believe them
            Don’t be bitten twice
            You gotta sus-sus-suspect device

            Read more: Stiff Little Fingers – Suspect Device

    • Tracey 2.4

      How can business be bleeding in a rockstar economy?

      If you are right and businesses are bleeding, and we know employees are struggling, for whom is this economu working???

      • poem 2.4.1

        Well said Tracey.

      • Kiwiri 2.4.2

        If you are right and businesses are bleeding, and we know employees are struggling, for whom is this economu working???

        Umm ….. Banks, Landlords and Speculators?

    • poem 2.5

      “You can only bleed employers so much before they are forced to cut jobs”

      Like it has under national you mean.

      And you know that.. “Watch the unemployment rate rise if this ever gets implemented”… is a fallacy .

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.6

      @Stifflittlefinger.

      What you have there is a false belief. The real world (cf. Seattle, and many many more examples) is somewhat different to the world of Economics 101.

      Closer to home, Michael Cullen raised the minimum wage nine times in nine years and unemployment went down. To put it another way, Bill English’s best efforts have never matched the NZ left’s business as usual.

      Now, clutch at your false beliefs even harder, perhaps try some outright denial, shoot the messenger and all that stuff, and I’ll have a good laugh at your inability to cope with a reality check :D

      • Kiwiri 2.6.1

        Michael Cullen raised the minimum wage nine times in nine years and unemployment went down

        Yeah, please raise the minimum age!

        The effect is a “build up” or “spurt up” because “trickle down” or “hoard away” does not work.

    • Weepus beard 2.7

      Your handle is a NI anarchist punk band right? Surprised you fall on the side of tight employers.

      Unless you high jacked that band for your own purpose, that is.

      • Rosie 2.7.1

        I thought that handle was weird too and at odds with the message

      • Stifflittlefinger 2.7.2

        Hardly an anarchist band. There message was mainly independence from the IRA/loyalist shit that was NI at that time. If they wanted anarchy they would have picked a side and stirred up major trouble. By the way also a big fan of “The Clash”. Not the message just the music.
        RIP Joe Strummer

        • s y d 2.7.2.1

          just the music…..not the message…..

          thats a bit like reading books for the pages, not the words…

        • Te Reo Putake 2.7.2.2

          “Not the message just the music.”

          Strummer would have despised you.

        • Rosie 2.7.2.3

          Uh ok. stifflittlefinger(s)

          Funny, I had a Clash night last Friday to cheer myself up. The music’s great but can’t be separated from the narrative. That would be like reading a book for the pretty pictures.

          Each to their own though.

    • Macro 2.8

      Utter crap!

      What will happen is the complete opposite of your dire and uneducated predictions.

      http://americasmarkets.usatoday.com/2014/07/07/study-states-that-raised-minimum-wage-had-stronger-job-growth/

      “Critics of minimum wage increases argue they raise business costs, forcing employers to lay off workers or hire fewer people.

      But CEPR senior economist John Schmitt says one reason minimum pay hikes actually could bolster employment growth is that they help businesses fill openings more quickly. Big employers of low-wage workers, such as fast food chains, virtually always have job vacancies, he says.

      Another reason, he says, is that low-wage workers tend to spend nearly all their extra cash, lifting the local economy and creating more jobs.”

    • irascible 2.9

      All evidence points to the opposite of your argument. So stop mouthing the same nonsense that the unethical and unprincipled Key, Joyce & Cronies declare as they asset strip the country.

    • Minarch 2.10

      One supermarket proved it can provide employees with a livable wage, annual bonuses, and a retirement plan. They can beat Walmart’s prices. They can turn a profit, too. So why was its CEO just forced out?

      http://www.esquire.com/blogs/news/market-basket-fight

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Aiming to raise the minimum wage to two-thirds of the average wage over two terms as conditions permit.

    The problem with that is that conditions will never permit. Better just to have the minimum wage increase to two thirds of the average wage over three years.

  4. George 4

    That’s one way to describe things.

    The other is that:

    “a Commission of Inquiry with investigating wage setting and other workplace practices with a view to developing labour market regulation that makes it easier to negotiate fair pay and conditions, and encourages productive workplace relationships”

    is a step back from the industry award wages and conditions that Labour promised to introduce.

    Cunliffe and Parker have openly admitted they dropped that plan because business opposed it.

    • Darien Fenton 4.1

      Not true. The policy says “Labour is committed to introducing Industry Standard Agreements” ….and “Labour will reform wage setting and collective bargaining following a Commission of Inquiry.”

  5. Lanthanide 5

    Having recently attended employment law training session, I’m much less against the 90 day law than I used to be.

    There are actually protections around when it can be used, and it doesn’t let employers off the hook completely (although of course most employees won’t be aware they have rights):
    1. The 90 day provision is not valid for anyone who has previously worked with the company. So you cannot hire and fire the same person every 89 days – the second time they are hired, the 90 day provision is invalid.
    2. Even if someone is dismissed under the 90 day law, the employer must still follow a reasonable process and act in good faith. Getting to day 89, with no previous indications of bad performance, only to be let go, is not acting in good faith.

    • George 5.1

      Except that the employer does not have to give any reason at all for the dismissal. The law is quite clear on that. It’s thus very hard to prove bad faith or a breach of the Human Rights Act, in the way that someone covered by ordinary employment law can.

      I’m not absolutely and entirely against it either, but I think that a strong form of protections is needed. These should include a full written explanation of the reasons the person was fired, and a payout of six weeks wages, since that employee is now seeking work again unexpectedly.

      • Lanthanide 5.1.1

        I’d be happy with that.

      • Puckish Rogue 5.1.2

        That sounds fair

      • Hayden 5.1.3

        And no stand-down for unemployment benefit at the end of the six weeks.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.3.1

          …criminal prosecution of human rights abuses by government employees, with particular focus on WINZ and ACC. In-depth investigation of human rights problems. Entrenchment of the NZBoRA.

          Criminal liability for human rights abuses extended to elected officials. Government for the people.

          A modest goal.

    • Tracey 5.2

      As with all things, there are pros and cons. The power differential betw most employees and their employers is crucial. Most employers value their employees and understand the value of loyalty. Most employees understand their employer takes risks and loses sleep to keep them employed.

      As with all things it is the extremes at both ends which we end up legislating for.

      Employment law is usually the first to change with each change of govt ensuring little consistency and making it expensive to keep getting new advice on each change

    • RedBaronCV 5.3

      In practice it is utter crap because it removes from employers any onus to try to get the right fit of person for the job. They just take some one on, then when the utterly unreasonable targets for the job that are not disclosed in the interview or are lied about are not met then they just use the 90 day rule.

      People who leave a reasonable job to go to a new one are then left high and dry. Some firms are so appalling at the “give it a whirl” game that agencies won’t touch them and these are not minimum rate jobs. It’s a sociopathic hunting ground. It also slows down recruitment- a lot of people won’t move jobs when they face this.

      Then there is the stress and costs of taking action.

    • The 90 day provision is not valid for anyone who has previously worked with the company.

      I have heard stories to the contrary, namely people being offered “promotions” and then fired after a few weeks on the basis that the promotion was a “new” role and thus (not that this was spelled out to them at any point, of course) subject to a 90-day trial.

      The entire problem of the 90-day trials is this: there was already provision for probation periods in employment law, so literally the only point of the 90-day law was to allow bad employers to churn through workers, keep wages down, and undermine union organising in the workplace.

      • Lanthanide 5.4.1

        I have heard stories to the contrary, namely people being offered “promotions” and then fired after a few weeks on the basis that the promotion was a “new” role and thus (not that this was spelled out to them at any point, of course) subject to a 90-day trial.

        Well according to the presenter, as well as the HR department at my company, that is illegal and the people such treated can file a PG and will almost certainly win.

        Furthermore, the clause must be agreed to by both parties, the employer cannot try and fire someone without it having been put into the written contract first. This goes so far as if someone works for 1 day before signing their contract, the 90 day clause is invalid because they already started working for you.

        The entire problem of the 90-day trials is this: there was already provision for probation periods in employment law, so literally the only point of the 90-day law was to allow bad employers to churn through workers, keep wages down, and undermine union organising in the workplace.

        Except the probationary period, in practice, offered no additional powers to employers in how they were able to treat their employees, so might as well not even have existed. See my post further down in the thread.

        • Tracey 5.4.1.1

          From my interactions with people in employment situations, the majority won’t take legala ction. They go try and find a new job and consider challenging will be trouble than its worth and settle for a good reference.

    • Darien Fenton 5.5
      1. Employers don’t have to follow any process at all. Proving a breach of good faith is a huge hurlde in the Employment Authority, and is not ground for unjustified dismissal.
      • Bob 5.5.1

        Come on Darien, that is BS and you know it.
        “1.Employers don’t have to follow any process at all” have you read the act?
        http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2000/0024/latest/DLM58328.html?search=ts_act_employment+relations_resel&p=1#DLM58328
        Good faith means a requirement to show that the employer has given multiple chances for the employee to rectify poor performance or bad behaviour, AND the employer has to show how they have provided sufficient support to rectify that performance or behaviour. If the employer does BOTH of these, AND the employee doesn’t show signs of improvement, only then can they be let go.
        I am sure you would have already read through recent case law since you are part of a Labour Party that is wanting to repeal this law, but just in case you are simply spouting Union rhetoric, you can start here:
        http://www.corbanrevell.co.nz/wa.asp?idWebPage=39970&idDetails=188
        http://www.fortunemanning.co.nz/Publications/Employment+Law/Trials+and+tribulations+-+an+update+on+90+day+trial+periods.html
        And I would ask you to specifically read this:
        http://www.pdassociates.co.nz/newsletters/pitfalls-90-day-trial-period-employers-beware/

        • Te Reo Putake 5.5.1.1

          Have you read those links, Bob? Perhaps you should, eh. And quoting a piece of the legislation that has no bearing on the ability to dismiss under the 90 day provisions doesn’t strengthen your argument at all.

          Perhaps you could show us some evidence that anyone has successfully used ‘breach of good faith’ to win a PG against a dismissal under the fire at will provisions?

          And Darien is right, lack of proper process is not a major issue any more. National have watered down the law so that small employers can get off by saying they didn’t know what the proper process was. It may be the only place in NZ law where ignorance of the law is a genuine defence.

          Ps, happy last day, Darien!

          • Bob 5.5.1.1.1

            TRP – Here you go:
            http://dol.govt.nz/workplace/determinations/FullSummary.aspx?ID=39828871
            http://dol.govt.nz/workplace/determinations/FullSummary.aspx?ID=39828504
            http://dol.govt.nz/workplace/determinations/FullSummary.aspx?ID=39828839
            http://dol.govt.nz/workplace/determinations/FullSummary.aspx?ID=39828479

            These are just cases this year that have made it to court in 2014 and not been settled during mediation, there are dozens more cases won by the employee freely available on the MoBIE website.

            “And Darien is right, lack of proper process is not a major issue any more. National have watered down the law so that small employers can get off by saying they didn’t know what the proper process was. It may be the only place in NZ law where ignorance of the law is a genuine defence”
            Believe what you like but ignorance is NOT a genuine defence, if you know of any cases where it has been I would be very interested to read it, but in the mean time I will just take your statement as being as ignorant of the law as calling the 90 day trial ’90 day free sacking’ as Mike Smith does above.

            • Darien Fenton 5.5.1.1.1.1

              And none of those cases you cite got their job back and all got a pittance in compensation. And they only succeeded because the employer didn’t do the paperwork properly. They learn fast. I don’t know if you’ve ever actually met someone who has been dismissed under the 90 day trial period. I’ve met heaps. Losing a job is a devastating experience for anyone, and there are few workers who have the resources to take the employer on. And what’s worse, getting another job will be all but impossible, because they’ve been sacked.

              • Bob

                Maybe a pittance for a list MP Darien, but these are all in the thousands of dollars, which is a lot of money in my world!
                Yes, I have met people that have been dismissed under the 90 day trial law, both of them admitted they weren’t enjoying the role/company so they weren’t worried and both have got new jobs since without issue.

                Losing a job is devastating but these people can’t just be fired at will (as you will have people believe), they have to be underperforming or causing a justifiable disruption to the business to be fired. How many of these ‘heaps’ of people you have met have said they thought they were performing well when dismissed? How many were adding value to the business they worked in? You do realise that when you get a job in the real world you don’t just turn up and get paid don’t you Darien? You still need to do the work you are being paid for, this law gives people a chance to prove themselves, a chance they may well not have got without it.

            • Te Reo Putake 5.5.1.1.1.2

              No mention of breach of good faith in those four cases, Bob.

              The first 3 had the employer use the 90 day provision as an excuse to dismiss, when it wasn’t available to them for technical reasons. The fourth was a disadvantage case where the employer simply didn’t pay the wages, then eventually fired the worker.

              Care to keep digging and find us a case that involved a good faith breach in the 90 day period?

              And as for your last paragraph, the Act has been amended to allow the ERA to decide that even if a dismissal process was technically poor, that does not necessarily mean the dismissal is unjustified. The reason given for the change was that most kiwi firms don’t have HR departments or similar resources and shouldn’t be penalised if they give it their best shot, but still fall down on proper process.

              Or as one firm put it:

              “Employers will be delighted to know that the amendments also mean that the ERA or Court cannot decide that there has been an unjustified action or dismissal solely because of a defect in the employer’s process if the defects were minor or technical and did not result in the probability that the employee was treated unfairly.”

              So ignorance can be a defence, Bob. Do try and keep up.

              • Bob

                Here you go then TRP: http://dol.govt.nz/workplace/determinations/FullSummary.aspx?ID=39826623
                “Found respondent did not comply with good faith obligations in dismissing applicant – Dismissal unjustified – REMEDIES – No contributory conduct – Found respondent should have dealt with applicant’s performance issues by managing applicant’s performance”

                http://dol.govt.nz/workplace/determinations/FullSummary.aspx?ID=39825138
                “Found respondent could not rely on trial provision whether dismissal within 90 day trial period or not and Authority could determine whether dismissal justified – Found applicant not given opportunity to provide advice, comment or explain performance”

                “So ignorance can be a defence, Bob. Do try and keep up.”
                I’ll ask again, can you point to one piece of case law that backs this up TRP???
                Without case law to back up your point, this can just be seen as a law firm trying to drum up new business on their interperatation of the law, not as a reason to scrap a good piece of legislation!

                • Te Reo Putake

                  Again, neither of those work. What you’re looking for is a good faith breach in a 90 day dismissal. Have another crack.

                  edit: the relevant bit of the legislation about process failure is this: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2000/0024/latest/DLM60327.html

                  (the fifth line)

                  • Bob

                    The first example even directly states “Found respondent did not comply with good faith obligations in dismissing applicant – Dismissal unjustified”, can’t be more clear than that!

                    The second case “Found applicant not given opportunity to provide advice, comment or explain performance” refers to not acting in good faith as stated in the Employment Relations Act 2000: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2000/0024/latest/DLM58328.html?search=ts_act_employment+relations_resel&p=1#DLM58328

                    1A) The duty of good faith in subsection (1)—

                    (b) requires the parties to an employment relationship to be active and constructive in establishing and maintaining a productive employment relationship in which the parties are, among other things, responsive and communicative; and

                    (c) without limiting paragraph (b), requires an employer who is proposing to make a decision that will, or is likely to, have an adverse effect on the continuation of employment of 1 or more of his or her employees to provide to the employees affected—

                    (i) access to information, relevant to the continuation of the employees’ employment, about the decision; and

                    (ii) an opportunity to comment on the information to their employer before the decision is made.

                    “the relevant bit of the legislation about process failure is this: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2000/0024/latest/DLM60327.html
                    Yes, that is the legislation, but again, show me how that legislation has been applied in case law!

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Sorry mate, but neither meets your own definition in the your call of bullshit up the page. What you are looking for is a proven breach of good faith and/or process failure AND a genuine 90 day dismissal, all in the same judgement. Perhaps if you put those terms in the search engine you’ll have better luck. But don’t bother linking to judgements where it was shown that the 90 day rule didn’t apply, as most of those you’ve put up have turned out to be.

                      In other words, try and find something that actually disproves what Darien said.

                    • Bob

                      Since you are obviously struggling with reality, let me step you through it!

                      UNJUSTIFIED DISMISSAL – Poor performance – UNJUSTIFIED DISADVANTAGE – Applicant claimed unjustifiably dismissed and disadvantaged by respondent – Respondent claimed applicant’s employment subject to 90 day trial period – Applicant claimed first document entered into by parties was employment agreement – Respondent made provision in document for trial period and to assist applicant to purchase vehicle with loan – Authority not satisfied document was employment agreement – Found document later entered into by parties was employment agreement which also referenced trial period and finance for vehicle – Applicant purchased vehicle using funds referred to in documents – Respondent met with applicant to discuss concerns about efficacy of applicant’s work – Respondent convened another meeting after failed to see improvement in applicant’s work – Parties agreed to addendum to employment agreement – Applicant claimed bullied into signing addendum and not given opportunity to seek legal advice – Respondent claimed applicant not bullied into signing addendum and applicant’s suggestion to reduce salary by 50 per cent – Respondent dismissed applicant and requested repayment of loan – Found respondent failed to stipulate in documentation that applicant could be dismissed during trial period and not entitled to bring grievance in respect of dismissal – Found applicant not employed on 90 day trial period and could raise grievance – Applicant claimed disadvantaged by respondent’s failure to allow reasonable follow up of opportunities for new clients – Applicant claimed bullied by respondent – Found applicant not persuasive witness and various allegations not established – Found applicant architect of own misfortune – Found no impropriety in relation to agreement to addendum – No disadvantage – Found respondent did not comply with good faith obligations in dismissing applicant – Dismissal unjustified – REMEDIES – No contributory conduct – Found respondent should have dealt with applicant’s performance issues by managing applicant’s performance or having trial period that complied with law – $7,500 reimbursement of lost wages appropriate – $3,000 compensation appropriate – COUNTERCLAIM – RECOVERY OF MONIES – Respondent sought repayment of loan advanced to applicant for purchase of vehicle – Found respondent advanced loan to applicant in employment context – Found implied term of loan agreement that loan would be repaid at conclusion of employment – Applicant to pay respondent $10,340 – Respondent sought repayment of personal fuel costs incurred by applicant – Applicant to pay respondent $340

                      Result:

                      Applications granted (unjustified dismissal) (counterclaim)(recovery of monies) ; Reimbursement of lost wages ($7,500) ; Compensation for humiliation etc ($3,000) ; Recovery of monies ($10,340)(loan) ($340)(fuel costs) ; Application dismissed (unjustified

                      The key points being:
                      – UNJUSTIFIED DISMISSAL – Poor performance
                      – Respondent claimed applicant’s employment subject to 90 day trial period
                      – Found respondent did not comply with good faith obligations in dismissing applicant – Dismissal unjustified
                      – Recovery of monies $10,340

                      This covers all of your and Darien Fentons lack of understanding of the legislation in one case, 90 day trial IS NOT fire at will, and employers DO have to follow good will process. You can continue with un-informed rhetoric all you like, but reality does not match.

                      For a fourth time now, show me in case law how ignorance is a legal defence?!?! Or is this just another piece of union rhetoric with no basis in reality?

                    • McFlock

                      Found respondent failed to stipulate in documentation that applicant could be dismissed during trial period and not entitled to bring grievance in respect of dismissal – Found applicant not employed on 90 day trial period and could raise grievance

                      cf:

                      What you are looking for is a proven breach of good faith and/or process failure AND a genuine 90 day dismissal, all in the same judgement.

                      sigh.

                      edit: franlkly all that case demonstrates is the employers who were too thick to properly manage underperforming staff are occasionally also too thick to properly administer the fire at will legislation.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Poor old, Bob. Can’t even be arsed reading the evidence he reckons supports his position.

                      From the judgement:

                      “The Authority finds that the trial period referred to in the documentation
                      provided to it by The Freight People does not comply with New Zealand law and is therefore a nullity. It follows that Mr Rix-Trott was not employed on a probationary period of employment and, in consequence, he can raise a personal grievance in relation to the circumstances of his dismissal. ”

                      Get back to us when you find a case that actually backs your premise, Bob.

                    • Bob

                      McFlock – “frankly all that case demonstrates is the employers who were too thick to properly manage under performing staff are occasionally also too thick to properly administer the fire at will legislation.” You contradict yourself! If it is “fire at will” legislation then you would be able to FIRE AT WILL!!! How can you be too thick to properly administer legislation that you don’t need any reason to administer?

                      Still waiting for some case law TRP…..

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      LOL, does that mean you’ve given up Bob? I do appreciate the time you took to at least try and find something to back up your statement. Obviously, I knew it was it was always going to be a futile effort, but at least you gave it your best shot. Beats arguing with people who just bluster.

                    • McFlock

                      You contradict yourself! If it is “fire at will” legislation then you would be able to FIRE AT WILL!!! How can you be too thick to properly administer legislation that you don’t need any reason to administer?

                      Because you have to explain the fact that you’re working under those rules before you hire them. Otherwise, you have to treat them decently. You can’t employ someone and then change the rules after they have the job. That’s nothing to do with firing, it’s basic contract theory.

                      Once you explain those rules before you give them the job, you have the power to fire at will. In the case you quoted, the problem wasn’t that the employer couldn’t fire at will. It’s because the employer was incompetent at hiring people, and couldn’t even manage a simple 90-day clause in the empoyment contract.

          • Darien Fenton 5.5.1.1.2

            Thanks TRP.

            • Te Reo Putake 5.5.1.1.2.1

              Thank you, Darien! It was great to have a battler for the battlers in parliament, you should be very proud of all you did there.

              • Rosie

                Hear! Hear!

                • Michael

                  I thought your valedictory speech was great, Darien. You said a lot of things that needed saying. I’m glad you will remain with the Labour movement, where there is a lot of need for your skills.

  6. Puckish Rogue 6

    When the 90 day was implemented the cries from the left were deafening in what it would mean for NZ workers but has it come to pass?

    There was a flurry of publicity of course, but I recall red alert had something up about an interview with a “victim” the victim just happened to be a member of young labour (pure coincidence I’m sure) but has there been any incidences recently?

    The law seems to be working well so why change it? There may be case for the raising of the minimum wage but is there one for the 90 day bill? It just seems to be like the Greens wanting to ban all publicly owned *semi-automatics even though theres no good reason for it.

    *Not meaning this to be about semi-autos just using it as an example of parties wanting to change things for no real reason

    • poem 6.1

      The 90 day rule may have worked for employers, but not so much for the workers. Many employers have abused it for cheap short term labour.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      The ninety day protection for scumbag employers bill was introduced on the basis of the lie that it would lower youth unemployment. Youth unemployment went up. No apology was contemplated let alone delivered.

      In the private sector, this level of incompetence leads directly to the dole queue. In politics, the argumentum ad nauseam works in the short term, and that explains the National Party: the embodiment of false beliefs and prejudice.

    • Rosie 6.3

      The 90 day law wasn’t necessary in the first place. There was already a provision in the existing Employment Relations Act, whereby either an employer or employee could review the situation under a trial period of 90 days. Under this provision however, the employee still had a right to legal representation if they felt they had been unjustifiably dismissed. Under the Nat version, the employee doesn’t.

      I have often wondered if this removal of right to seek legal representation is in breach of ILO conventions regarding access to legal representation. NZ is a signatory to the International Labour Organisation’s conventions.

      The reason the law needs to be changed is because it puts an unreasonable amount of power in the hands of those who already have it, and removes a basic work right from those who don’t.

      Try being a job seeker when you have a sham of a law hanging over your head. In your first 3 months you have absolutely no job security no matter how hard you work or how good you are at your job. It is a sickening feeling I can tell you.

      It has to go.

      • Lanthanide 6.3.1

        “The 90 day law wasn’t necessary in the first place. There was already a provision in the existing Employment Relations Act, whereby either an employer or employee could review the situation under a trial period of 90 days. ”

        That’s what I thought too. During the employment law training session (mentioned above), I questioned the presenter quite closely as to the difference between the existing legislation and the 90 day law.

        The existing legislation is effectively useless. Basically it’s ‘formally’ giving the employee notice that you will be monitoring their performance. But that’s it. It means you might be able to slightly speed up a performance review process that could result in termination, but otherwise the existing process must be followed in full and if you mis-step at any point you’re liable for a PG. So ultimately in practice putting the condition in their employment contract is no different from having regular meetings with the employee where you go over their performance -> so putting the clause in the contract doesn’t actually give the employer any new powers whatsoever.

        On the other hand, the trial period can be for lengths of time longer than 90 days. But in practice it’s not really worth bothering with.

        • Rosie 6.3.1.1

          Hi Lanthanide.

          Just to clarify, second paragraph you mention “The difference between existing law and the 90 day law”. The 90 day law replaced the previous lawful trial period provisions, so the “existing law” is the current law no?

          Yes, I did see you had been attending a law training session. I was curious as to who was running it, because the presenter (s) sound out of touch with the reality of the 90 day law, as it now stands.I had wondered if it was the EMA running it, but even the EMA doesn’t get such matters confused. They are ideologically and duty bound to promote the employers view but know where to draw the line legally, normally.

          Going by what you are saying it seems they are of the view that nothing has changed, and that the employer may still be liable for a PG if they dismiss an employee when the 90 days is up

          The crux of the 90 day law is the removal of the right for legal representation if an employee wants to pursue a PG on the grounds on unjustifiable dismissal.The employer is not legally required to provide the employee with a reason for dismissal either.

          This is why there was a big stink about it and why Labour plan to scrap it.

          I was horrified to to witness this happen in the workplace last year to a young guy who just needed guidance and boundary setting. There had been some tension between him and the boss. The organisation’s (most disappointingly it was a well regarded NGO) lawyer advised the employer to sack then young guy under the 90 day provisions. It was see ya later alligator.

          • Lanthanide 6.3.1.1.1

            “The 90 day law replaced the previous lawful trial period provisions, so the “existing law” is the current law no?”

            No, the 90 day law is available in addition to the probationary period. The probationary period still exists, but as I outlined, it is pretty much a waste of time because in practice it offers nothing in addition to what an employer could achieve through the body of the rest of the legislation anyway.

            My use of “existing legislation” was referring to the probationary period.

            The training was from the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce, and in general the presenter seemed very knowledgeable, factual and not biased in any particular direction, but spoke of things how they are. The presenter is available to hire in employment disputes, so does practice what they preach.

            “Going by what you are saying it seems they are of the view that nothing has changed, and that the employer may still be liable for a PG if they dismiss an employee when the 90 days is up”

            No, the 90 day law does give the employer much more power. But, it does not prevent the right to file a PG for bad faith.

            • Te Reo Putake 6.3.1.1.1.1

              That’s dead set wrong, Lanthanide. Because the employer does not have to provide a reason for the sacking, a good faith breach cannot be proved. I’d go further; the 90 day provision specifically removes the need to behave in good faith. The only PG’s that can be taken are where there was a technical issue (such as the ones you’ve mentioned around rehiring or the simple failure to get the 90 day clause agreed to before employment started) or for where there is provable bigotry or discrimination.

              I too am available for hire in employment disputes. The difference between me and the bloke from the CoC is that I generally win my cases.

              • Lanthanide

                Because the employer does not have to provide a reason for the sacking, a good faith breach cannot be proved.

                In some cases, probably. But if the employer tells someone they’re doing a great job, there’s absolutely not hint of any problems and they talk about the person staying with the company for a long time, then on day 89 they are fired and are given a reason that contradicts all previous statements, that would seem to be bad faith.

                Basically you can file a PG for 3 reasons: unjustified dismissal, not acting in good faith and unfair disadvantage. The 90 day law removes the unjustified dismissal cause, but not the other two.

                A quick google turned up this result, which pretty much agrees with everything the presenter said: http://www.duncancotterill.com/publications/trial-periods-in-practice-ensuring-your-90-day-trial-period-is-valid
                Including, specifically, this point:
                “If you don’t think your employee is suitable for your organisation, you should let them know prior to dismissing them. Consult with them about their performance or attitude, and provide an opportunity for improvement. You are legally obliged to be open, honest and communicative with staff. If you fail to deal with performance concerns, your employee could claim unjustified disadvantage and breach of good faith.”

                I too am available for hire in employment disputes. The difference between me and the bloke from the CoC is that I generally win my cases.

                A ridiculous claim to make, since you have no idea who the person I am talking about is, or in fact that they are a woman, not a man.

                • Te Reo Putake

                  You’re not getting it, Lanth.

                  Good faith does not enter into the equation at all, once the trial period has been agreed. Good faith must be used in that negotiation (as if job applicants have any choice in the matter!). To repeat myself, the fire at will provision effectively removes good faith as a consideration during the 90 days. It’s an almost unfettered right to dismiss, with the only exceptions being those we’ve already identified, such as discrimination.

                  If good faith was relevant, it would be equally relevant on day 1 as on day 89. But it isn’t. Further, if it was relevant, which it isn’t, the penalties would be minimal and would not necessarily include payment for lost wages, hurt and humiliation or breach of the Act. Most small employers also have recourse to the other nasty change to the Act bought in by National and that is the right for employers to claim they didn’t know what they were doing, therefore shouldn’t be punished. Technical or process deficiencies can now be ignored or minimised, which is also a significant watering down of good faith.

                  Anyway, even if you didn’t get much of value from the training day, I hope at least the lunch was good.

                  • Lanthanide

                    The law says you can raise a PG on the grounds of breach of good faith.

                    Whether that is possible in practice is entirely besides the point that I am making, which is that is what the law says. Lawyers are advising employers to keep this in mind so that they don’t end up with PGs filed against them, which even if the employee isn’t successful still costs a lot of money for the employer to deal with.

                    I am not defending the 90-day law: it has problems. I would rather see it improved, than scrapped, as Labour is proposing.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      “Whether that is possible in practice is entirely besides the point that I am making, which is that is what the law says.”

                      Not quite. What you said was:

                      “2. Even if someone is dismissed under the 90 day law, the employer must still follow a reasonable process and act in good faith. Getting to day 89, with no previous indications of bad performance, only to be let go, is not acting in good faith.”

                      Then you went on to say:

                      “No, the 90 day law does give the employer much more power. But, it does not prevent the right to file a PG for bad faith.”

                      You have put the case that acting in bad faith or having a bad process can lead to successful PG’s in a ninety day trial. I’ve pointed out that the provisions of the trial period legislation mean that cannot happen. Specifically, the right to silence on the reasons for dismissal mean this cannot happen, unless the employer is foolish enough to put something fatal in writing. Which pretty much never happens. To be more precise, the trial legislation allows for, and actually encourages, bad faith behaviour, as long as its not admitted.

                      However, if the CCoC is advising employers that it’s dangerous to sack people under the 90 day provision, then I’m all for that. Anything that stops employers behaving like pricks is fine by me, even if it’s based on misinformation or just a misunderstanding of the presentation.

                      Paul Diver has quite a good summary of the pitfalls from an employers’ point of view, including a swift dismissal of any worries around breaches of good faith. He points out, as I did, that the exemption from providing reasons and information means bad faith behaviour is not really an issue.

                      http://www.pdassociates.co.nz/newsletters/pitfalls-90-day-trial-period-employers-beware/

                    • Lanthanide

                      Filing a PG is not the same as filing and winning a PG. Nothing I said indicates that anyone would win any particular PG filed for bad faith, just that such a thing was possible.

                      unless the employer is foolish enough to put something fatal in writing.

                      Employers make foolish mistakes all the time, like firing someone who doesn’t actually have a 90 day provision in their contract.

                      However, if the CCoC is advising employers that it’s dangerous to sack people under the 90 day provision, then I’m all for that.

                      It’s not advising that it’s “dangerous”, it’s advising that care should be taken and the law does not give you carte blanche to do whatever you want under the mask of “90 days trial”.

                      The page you linked to specifically says: “Both parties must not do anything to mislead or deceive the other.”

                      It’s easy to imagine a case where, as I outlined above, the employer made repeated statements that the employee would definitely continue past the 90 day period, there was no problem with their work etc, only to turn around and fire them on 89. That would be deceptive and therefore breaching good faith.

                      It also says this:
                      “Employers do not need to give a written reason for the dismissal but are required to give an explanation at the time notice of dismissal is given.”

                      Whereas you previously stated people could be dismissed for no reason. So it seems this source disagrees with you.

                    • Tracey

                      The problem is proving bad faith. It’s all very well for a presenter to say the law says you can sue for bad faith BUT proving it and the costs thereof is quite prohibitive.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Nope, the source agrees with me. Giving a verbal explanation (“we want to go in a different direction, etc.”) is not the same as giving lawful reasons why a dismissal should be upheld. If the employer doesn’t give the explanation, there is no particular penalty for that anyway.

                      Your example of the boss indicating that employment might continue and the worker was doing fine is completely irrelevant, and, unless the statements were in writing, unprovable. And even if it were demonstrably true that the employer said all those nice things, he could still legally sack the worker under the 90 day provision. That’s what the fire at will law is all about. In your scenario, the employer can simply say on any day in the 90, “I changed my mind and I decided to go in another direction”. Case closed. Sure it’s unfair, but that’s what the legislation is designed to allow.

                      The simple truth is that the 90 day rule allows and even encourages bad faith behaviour, no matter what you think you heard in your seminar.

                      And Tracey is dead right. What would be the point of taking a PG on alleged bad faith behaviour? It wouldn’t go anywhere and would just cost the applicant whatever they spent on representation and possibly the other side’s legal costs if they chose to go hard on it. The number of cases won over breaches of good faith in other areas such as bargaining or redundancy are minimal anyway, even when there is substantial proof. When the employer has the right to dismiss on his side anyway, it simply isn’t going to happen.

                    • Lanthanide

                      he could still legally sack the worker under the 90 day provision. That’s what the fire at will law is all about.

                      Yes, and the 90 day law does not prevent the employee in this case from filing a PG for breach of good faith.

                      You can argue as much as you want that “no one wins such claims”, the point still stands that employers should still act in good faith when dealing with a 90 day dismissal, because otherwise they risk a PG for breaching good faith, however unlikely that is to be raised, or to succeed, in the first place.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Why ‘should’ they use good faith, Lanth? There’s no penalty if they don’t, no risk of losing a case based on it and the 90 day provision positively encourages the very opposite. Firing someone for no good reason is pretty much the definition of bad faith behaviour, yet no company has ever been succesfully done for it that I know of. Feel free to find evidence that says otherwise.

                      You seem weirdly hung up on the fact that people can file no hope cases, as if that has some relevance to or indeed, influence on, employers. It doesn’t. And I bet the CCoC advocate did not say anything like ‘don’t use bad faith coz someone might file a case against you they have absolutely no chance of winning’.

                    • Rosie

                      Well! Clearly I can’t top what Te Reo Putake and Darien Fenton have to say – that was a very thorough and technical going over of the law.

                      From a (unemployed) workers view this law needs to go. To put it in its simplest terms the 90 day law is inherently unfair. One party is advantaged at the expense of the other party. No matter how much one pulls apart the intricacies of the law, it comes down to who has the power. Workers in NZ, especially non unionised ones, have very little left.

                      The guy I saw get fired under the 90 day law had no where to go, no legal representation. None of the bosses even attempted to work through the little issues they had with him. They were so minor they didn’t even warrant disciplinary action.

                      Such abuse of workers rights should have never been allowed to happen. Labour are doing the right thing by planning to repeal the law.

                    • Lanthanide

                      You are (trying) to argue that the CCoC speaker is wrong in that PGs re: breach of good faith cannot be raised if someone is fired during the 90 day period.

                      You’re wrong, they can be.

                      Here’s your quote incase you don’t remember what you actually said:

                      That’s dead set wrong, Lanthanide. Because the employer does not have to provide a reason for the sacking, a good faith breach cannot be proved.

                    • Lanthanide

                      To put it in its simplest terms the 90 day law is inherently unfair. One party is advantaged at the expense of the other party.

                      What about the case where the employee misrepresents themselves during the interview process and their references don’t flag any issues?

                      In that case, the employee is advantaged (by getting paid a wage that they don’t deserve) at the expense of the employer.

                      For large employers, this is a risk of doing business and their processes likely need to be improved to weed the problem out before hire. For small employers, a mis-step like this early in the company’s life can send it bankrupt.

                      Yes, it is possible to dismiss workers over performance problems. But it can be a costly and time-consuming process, whereby not only is the under-performing worker paid wages, but the managers and others who have to deal with the situation end up spending a large amount of their time dealing with the situation.

                      My favour would be to put specific restrictions and safeguards around the 90 day provision, but not remove it wholesale. In fact extending it to 120 days could be warranted.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Um, the quote contradicts your strawman. It’s no fun if you’re going to shoot yourself in the foot all the time ;)

                      “Here’s your quote incase you don’t remember what you actually said:

                      That’s dead set wrong, Lanthanide. Because the employer does not have to provide a reason for the sacking, a good faith breach cannot be proved. "

                      I remember it very well, and I also remember asking for you to provide some evidence that contradicts it. I’m still waiting …

                    • Lanthanide

                      I’ll make this simple for you because you don’t seem to be getting it.

                      When someone is dismissed generally, they have the right to raise a PG for reasons of A, B or C.

                      When someone is dismissed under the 90 day trial period, they have the right to raise a PG for reasons of A or B. They cannot raise a PG for reasons of C.

                      A = breach of good faith
                      B = unfair disadvantage
                      C = unjustified dismissal

                      http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2000/0024/latest/DLM1867204.html?search=ts_act_employment+relations_resel

                      67A-2-C: if the employer does so, the employee is not entitled to bring a personal grievance or other legal proceedings in respect of the dismissal.

                      Clearly, you can bring a PG due to breach of good faith, because that is not excluded by the legislation. Note that a PG for breach of good faith can be raised even while you are still employed – it has nothing to do with being dismissed. Generally however people who are currently employed are unlikely to bring such a claim against their employer.

                      The fact that no one does so, or such cases are unlikely to succeed, does not mean it cannot be done. As such, employers are wise to not breach good faith.

                    • McFlock

                      What about the case where the employee misrepresents themselves during the interview process and their references don’t flag any issues?

                      In that case, the employee is advantaged (by getting paid a wage that they don’t deserve) at the expense of the employer.

                      Well, that’s fraud.
                      Or if the interviewee didn’t have to make an explicit lie about something critical to their prospective role, then that’s an interviewer who lacks competence.

                      For large employers, this is a risk of doing business and their processes likely need to be improved to weed the problem out before hire. For small employers, a mis-step like this early in the company’s life can send it bankrupt.

                      So the employees should shoulder the risks of a crap manager? If a manager needs 90-day FaW, they have bigger problems than evil poor people lying to get jobs.

                      Yes, it is possible to dismiss workers over performance problems. But it can be a costly and time-consuming process, whereby not only is the under-performing worker paid wages, but the managers and others who have to deal with the situation end up spending a large amount of their time dealing with the situation.

                      God forbid a manager should spend their time managing.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Lanth, I’ll make this as simple for you as I can:

                      So fucken what?

                      Your original statement was wrong. It remains wrong. What you ‘learned’ in a seminar doesn’t overrule reality or the law. You are not an instant expert in the area and you do not trump hundreds of advocates, lawyers, authority members, and politicians just because you are fixated on a misheard or misunderstood aspect of what you were told. At least poor old Bob tried to justify his position by doing some research. All you’ve got is dancing on the head of a particularly blunt pin.

                    • Lanthanide

                      @ TRP:

                      Except the law backs up what I am saying. An employee who was dealt with in bad faith who also happens to have been dismissed under the 90 day law, can bring a PG against the employer with regards to the breach of good faith, regardless of whether they were dismissed or in what fashion it happened to be.

                      That’s what the law says. I even quoted it. That is what I have been saying all along, you’re trying to make out that you “cannot” raise a PG on breach of good faith, when factually, you can.

                      @ McFlock

                      Well, that’s fraud.
                      Or if the interviewee didn’t have to make an explicit lie about something critical to their prospective role, then that’s an interviewer who lacks competence.

                      Yes, I agree it is the interviewer who lacks competence, but it doesn’t seem fair that an employer can make a mistake, and therefore be stuck with an underperforming staff member for months (or potentially, years). People make mistakes, it happens. Why is it only employees who are allowed to make mistakes, but employers not? Why are employers being held to this mighty high standard?

                      Many small businesses that have employees actually end up in the situation where the business owners earn less in a year in profit than they pay their staff in salary and wages (and I mean individually, not in aggregate). It’s really not like employers are all-mighty masters of the universe and must be upheld to exacting standards and if they may a mistake hiring the wrong person who they then can’t get rid of expediently, who cares if they go bankrupt. That’s not actually fair.

                      God forbid a manager should spend their time managing.

                      Yeah, because a manager that spends 60 hours a week managing their regular business, is perfectly able to spend another 5 hours a week dealing with an underperforming staff member. They’re a manager after all, who cares how long it takes them to do their job or how stressful it is? They’re a manager, not a worker so who gives a stuff about them?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Fuck me, you’re dense. I agreed about a millennia ago that people can file cases they can’t possibly win. So fucken what? The whole point of the law change is that under the 90 day provision they cannot win. They cannot win. They. Cannot. Win. So it’s not a disincentive to bad faith behaviour. Geddit now?

                      What you think you heard is meaningless gibberish that has no relevance in the real world. FFS don’t tell your employer about what you ‘learned’ if you ever want to get another cushy day out of the office.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Ok, well we have nothing to argue about, then.

                      Also, it was on-site training.

                    • McFlock

                      Yes, I agree it is the interviewer who lacks competence, but it doesn’t seem fair that an employer can make a mistake, and therefore be stuck with an underperforming staff member for months (or potentially, years). People make mistakes, it happens. Why is it only employees who are allowed to make mistakes, but employers not? Why are employers being held to this mighty high standard?

                      Oh come on.
                      There is recourse for a competent manager to either improve (the ideal outcome) or get rid of “underperforming” staff members.

                      The trouble is that it requires an ability to manage. Why should the staff member be the only one expected to be competent?

                      Many small businesses that have employees actually end up in the situation where the business owners earn less in a year in profit than they pay their staff in salary and wages (and I mean individually, not in aggregate). It’s really not like employers are all-mighty masters of the universe and must be upheld to exacting standards and if they may a mistake hiring the wrong person who they then can’t get rid of expediently, who cares if they go bankrupt. That’s not actually fair.

                      They take that risk because if the business takes off, the owners reap the rewards. The employees do not. If the owner is not a competent manager, the first thing they should do is improve that area of their skillset or get someone competent to do it.

                      Managers might not be masters of the universe, but they do have significant power over their staff members. Fair labour laws (and effective third-party worker representation via unions) goes some measure to balancing that power, but the manager will almost always be on top. If they’re not competent to be inthat position, they shouldn’t have the job.

                      God forbid a manager should spend their time managing.

                      Yeah, because a manager that spends 60 hours a week managing their regular business, is perfectly able to spend another 5 hours a week dealing with an underperforming staff member. They’re a manager after all, who cares how long it takes them to do their job or how stressful it is? They’re a manager, not a worker so who gives a stuff about them?

                      I’m not sure you know what “managing a business” means. Managing staff is part of it. This includes preparation, monitoring, ongoing two-way feedback, and yes knowing how to deal with difficult situations.

                      The attitude that managing staff is not part of a manager’s “regular business” is probably a big reason that some of these incompetent managers fuck up in the first place.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.4

      The law seems to be working well so why change it?

      I don’t think that an All round failure is what most people would call working well.

    • There are many, many stories of employers abusing 90-day trials. But guess what? The kind of workers who are vulnerable to bullying bosses aren’t usually in the best position to go public with their stories because they’re vulnerable workers who need a job.

  7. Tarkwin 7

    As Lanthanide says there are provisions in the 90 day law that protect people. I’ve used it to employ staff and have never had a problem, that is not to say there aren’t trash people out there who will do anything they can to rip people off regardless of the law. As for the hourly rate, I would love to pay my staff more. They are loyal, they work hard and they deserve it. The problem is it’s just so hard to make a dollar at the moment, our industry has been dessimated by the Chinese and the Indians. They work for next to nothing, my staff don’t and nor should they have to. I don’t know what the answer is but I dont think raising the minimum wage twice will help – I can live with once. Regardless of who gets in in September things have got to improve.

    • Anne 7.1

      Regardless of who gets in in September things have got to improve.

      You sound like a good employer Tarkwin.

      Dare I suggest though that ‘things’ won’t improve under the present regime because they are simply not about improving conditions for the average industrial worker. They know most of them won’t be voting National. It follows that the macro-management of the economy is not conducted in their interest despite the imposing rhetoric from Bill English in particular. But a Labour/Green government plan to alter the emphasis of governance towards increasing growth (export growth in particular) and increasing employment opportunities for ordinary workers. I have no doubt there will also be incentives made available for NZ made goods and services that will give people like you a chance to regain your former momentum. In some ways it will be a return to the good old days of the 50s,60s and 70s but updated to fit in with modern technology and life styles.

      It’s worth a punt don’t you think Tarkwin? Better than the do-nothing alternative we have at the moment.

      • blue leopard 7.1.1

        …and also, if more people are paid better then there are more people who can afford to buy the products/services of your business, Tarkwin.

        • Rosie 7.1.1.1

          +1 Exactly blue leopard. More tills ringing, more happy bosses and customers, more staff employed to meet extra business demands.

    • McFlock 7.2

      dunno if it’s winter or the nats, but a lot of folks I know are at the end of their economic tether, too.

      The thing about a staggered increase in minimum wage is that it gives a bit of time for the upped money circulation from the first increase to come back to your bottom line.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.3

      Tarkwin you might take heart from Seattle’s experience: their high minimum wage boosts their local economy, not weakens it.

      Something’s gotta change: it’s the government.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.4

      I don’t know what the answer is

      The answer is to stop competing with those that get to under cut us because they have lax laws and even laxer enforcement of those laws. Basically, we need a law that says:

      You can trade with us when your standards meet ours

      Introduces a race for the top rather than the race for the bottom that we’ve had for the last thirty years.

    • Wayne 7.5

      As the author of the 90 day bill (I appreciate that Kate Wilkinson was the Minister, but the policy came from my 2006 Members Bill virtually unchanged), this is a debate that I follow.

      The law is now nearly 6 years old. I was not surprised that it was Labour policy to repeal it in 2011. However, I would have thought it was less of an issue in 2014. But I guess it is Labour’s view that it is part of the “neo-liberal experiment”, even though every OECD country has such laws.

      Anyway, this post is less about the merits, which have been well rehearsed many times, and more about the way political parties go about their business.

      Is this a policy that Labour promises to repeal no matter what and irrespective of how long they are in opposition, or will it be accepted once more time has gone by (assuming the Nats form the govt in 2014)?

      If it is the former, then I guess this will be one of those policies that exists when the Nats are in power, and not when they are not.

      When you think about it, there are not many policies in this category. I guess top tax rates is one, and maybe privatization, although that Nats are not promising that for 2014. Are there any others?

    • Minarch 7.6

      There are other ways to make your staff feel appreciated even if you cant afford pay rises

      company paid family outing days (rainbows end, parakai etc )

      more paid holidays in lieu of a pay rise (its not against the law to have MORE than 4 weeks per year ! )

      Mental health/ “duvet” days along side sick-leave entitlement

      on-site gym/wellness benefits

      pay there union dues ;-)

  8. michael 8

    A very modest set of initiatives here. On the plus side, scrapping fire at will won’t cost taxpayers anything, while increasing minimum wages as promised will cost relatively little. On the negative side, “working towards” and “reviewing” are weasel words for inactivity and the status quo. After six years in opposition, Labour should know by now what needs to be done, how much it will cost, and from where it will raise the money to pay for its policies. If people think Labour hasn’t done its homework and that it is bullshitting them, again, it will “enjoy” another three years in opposition. At least opposition MPs get paid many, many times more than the minimum wage so it shouldn’t hurt their bank accounts too much. OTOH, for the people Labour claims to represent, another term of right-wing oppression is dire news indeed.

  9. dave 9

    wages must rise as a worker who hasn’t had a pay rise in 10 years the current system is broken it doesn’t work there plenty workers on contact in real terms being paid below the minimum wage who are being exploited the whole system is broken. a lot of jobs once you take into account transport costs acc are no longer viable as energy poverty takes hold. i know of a company that make there works supply there own gear with no cost reimbursement and staff have no way of claim tax deprecation or any insurance costs workers across the board are being ripped off in gods zone and lifting the minimum wage is just a start when we hear of $1000 dollar hour consultants at Auckland council while staff working out on outsourced contracts get ripped it just makes the blood boil
    there needs to be a prolong campaign of industrial action across the country to start clawing back what has been stripped from us in the last 3 decades .

    • Rosie 9.1

      True Dave. There are many unprotected and exploited workers. Those workers on a contract such as courier drivers, in real terms often learn less than the minimum wage as they are paid per piece, have to pay their own acc and don’t get holiday or sick pay.

      Supermarket merchandisers are another group of contracted workers. Hired by agencies, they miss out on the basics and must supply their own phone and transport and that is rarely fully compensated in the mileage allowance, so they lose out by subsidising the employers costs.

      The winners are the supermarkets who get their order taking and shelf filling labour for free

  10. dave 10

    i know for sure strong worker representation and collectivisation and industry standards are part of labours industrial package an inquiry is there to provide the image of consultation and justification but we already know the outcome and what needs to happen so don’t worry about any back track the agenda has already been set.

  11. Saarbo 11

    Labour will win this election, this has given many of the people who didn’t vote in 2011 another powerful reason to vote Labour. There are areas that the “free market” does a terrible job, and at the lower end of the wage scale it is hopeless. For all of those people who are complaining, well see how you would live on the minimum pay rate…at the moment the low paid are subsidising employers…Well done Labour.

    • Rosie 11.1

      Excellent. +1

    • Bearded Git 11.2

      True saarbo-the first thing someone said to me last night in the pub was “I’m going to vote Labour because then next year I might actually have a half-decent wage”.

  12. disturbed 12

    Yes Saabo we need to get the message out to the masses, of kiwis who need the higher wages to survive.

    If this Shonkey mob stays afloat they will drive the minimum wages lower as Key is on record as saying he would want to see wages lowered.

    In 2008, the following was recorded by a reporter:
    During a Northland meeting on his Heartland tour, John Key met Kerikeri District Business Association president Carolyne Brooks-Quan in a café with a journalist present. Key seems to have taken little notice of the journalist, referring to him in a later media interview as ‘a young guy’.

    During the meeting Brooks-Quan expressed to Key her concern about calls for employers in New Zealand to pay their workers more:

    ‘There’s been a lot surrounding the exodus of people to Australia that are lured by higher wages. There are some calls here for employers to pay more. What’s your take on that?

    John, ever the business-friendly politician, replied:

    ‘We would love to see wages drop. The way we want to see wages increase is because productivity is greater. So people can afford more. Not just inflationary reasons, otherwise it’s a bit of a vicious circle as it comes back to you in higher interest rates. We really want to drive that out.’
    I rest my case.

  13. Populuxe1 13

    Well that’s lovely and all, but not worth diddly without jobs in the first place. Where are the policies for job creation?

  14. adam 14

    Why do they need a review? Are not citizens advise keeping records? What about the unions – they keep records, or maybe ask the employment lawyers who getting all those calls a week. ACC they have records too. It’s all there.

    I think the review part is rubbish. And as a radical, I think labour are again weak as piss over wage raises. Why are we only talking a pitiful rise an hour, we need real wages.

    A minimum wage of $25 an hour.
    Million dollar fines and jail for deaths in the work place.
    Good behaviour bonds for bad employers – in the tens of thousands for every case won against them.
    Safe work places – homes taken from bad employers and sold to get the work place safe.
    Redundancy clauses in every contract
    Free access for industrial unions to work places
    Freedom of association
    Education options for works and their families.

    That just for a start

    If a employer has such a bad model to make money, one which relies solely on paying piss poor wages – they shouldn’t be in business in the first place. Business in NZ need to up their game, the cheap labour model is a bad joke. Maybe all the crying Muppet’s who think it’s hard to be in business should not be – it’s simple – do some work yourself/become self reliant – rather than force your ideological shit down working peoples throat.

    And Populuxe1 – How about you read the other policies labour have released about the economy. Before you open your mouth, and show your nothing but a c grade troll.

  15. tricledrown 15

    Populaxitive.
    Goldman Sachs was commissioned to research evidence on minimum wages.
    Their findings just before the 2012 US elections proved that states which had a higher minimum wages had lower unemployment.
    Also states that increased their minimum wage lowered their unemployment.
    Also other research shows US states with the highest taxes had the lowest unemployment and highest growth.
    Meanwhile States with the lowest taxes had the worst unemployment and growth.
    California is the best example under low tax high debt Republican government low growth occurred.
    Now Democrat controlled with higher taxes growth and debt reduction is occurring.

  16. john 16

    A few points

    1/ Inflation has gone up 43% since 1999. Minimum wage has gone up 103% over the same period.

    2/ Many struggling manufacturers will simply not cope with a big increase in their wage bill. Likewise with orchard where some Apple orchards have been letting the fruit fall on the ground because it costs more to pick them than what they are worth.

    3/ Much of the increase will go back to govt for those who need it most. Treasury figures show nearly 70% of a wage increase for a four person family with two people on low wages gets stripped from working for families.

    4/ It makes automatic equipment that replaces low skilled jobs (i.e. supermarket self checkouts, auto burger makers that cost one annual wage but replace three workers, robotic vacuum cleaners, ) far more feasible and cost effective. Amazon is getting 10,000 robots this year that will replace workers who fill online orders.

    5/ It makes it even more risky for an employer to take on low skilled staff. Take away the trial period and you make many people unemployable.

    6/ There will be even fewer jobs for low and unskilled people.

    7/ In places like Auckland where housing is over priced, it will allow rents to catch up as they are some of the lowest in the world compared to the price of the houses.

    8/ Addressing structural issues like over-priced housing, can have a much more positive effect. Ditto with everyone going to Auckland for work, when there are more jobs available AND cheaper houses in other places.

    9/ And nothing will reduce poverty more effectively that if people stopped making dumb decisions, like hoping to beat all the competition to find low skilled work instead of working to get a qualification or skill that’s needed. And failing to plan to get into a secure emotional and financial place BEFORE having a family.

    If you think there are not enough low skilled jobs now, it’s only going to get worse as technology rolls on. And while 40% of NZ children are not even planned, we will continue to have hundreds of thousands pour over the poverty cliff.

    Anything the government can do – even a very left wing one – will be little more than tinkering with the problem.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      John can see it all in his crystal ball. Unfortunately it’s showing him what happens on another planet. On Earth, the evidence is in: minimum wages rises boost the economy.

      Will John notice what happens on Earth? Doubtful.

      • miravox 16.1.1

        “Will John notice what happens on Earth? Doubtful.”

        Beyond doubtful. He lives on Planet Key.

      • srylands 16.1.2

        Well in New Zealand a long run of increases in the minimum wage now means we have the highest ratio of minimum to average wages in the OECD. I don’t know that has boosted the economy, or how you would even prove that empiricaly.

        On empirics, the minimum wage is paid to just over 2% of the labour force. So it is a tiny effect. Further they are a mixed bunch. Students, and a fair number of earners in (relatively) high income households.

        I think it is naive to think that increasing wages for unskilled 18 year olds won’t have an impact on their employment.

        We would be better off letting the market set all wages and targetting income support via welfare if there is residual problem for some workers. We should also tackle housing costs which is a main source of child poverty (and poverty generally). Finally, we should strongly discourage the unskilled from having children – because they simply cannot afford to do so.

        So there you have it:

        • embrace market – abolish MW
        • tackle housing costs
        • targetted welfare for low income earners
        • discouarge child bearing by the unskilled

        Do those things and there is no need for any MW.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1.2.1

          No, that doesn’t work on Earth S Rylands.

          On Earth, Seattle for example, the highest minimum wage in the US goes with the lowest unemployment rate, for obvious reasons. Obvious to people who didn’t drink the kool-aid that is.

          Before people were stupid enough to implement the pre-determined faith-based policies you sold them, no-one cared. In the real world, your dogma has to deliver results, and it doesn’t, ever, anywhere, and we know this since we tried it.

          You’re naked, leech.

    • Tracey 16.2

      You seem down today John? Still thinking wistfully that only a couple of weeks ago you were in hawaii

  17. Dale 17

    Not sure about all that John. But I think raising the minimum wage, making credit much harder to get and having maybe the first 10,000 tax free will go a long way. Many people get trapped into a credit spiral. If they had more of their own money then it empowers people.

  18. Dale 18

    The lack of regulations around bank lending has screwed many. It wasn’t that long ago that first home buyers had a 15 or 20 year mortgage, now its 30 plus. The banks know they got you for life. Imagine if they could only offer a 25 year mortgage. House prices would reflect income.

    • Minarch 18.1

      doesnt mortgage mean “death grip” in latin ?

      • Tracey 18.1.1

        Good call

        Origin
        late Middle English: from Old French, literally ‘dead pledge,’ from mort (from Latin mortuus ‘dead’) + gage ‘pledge.

        • minarch 18.1.1.1

          Hence why i would never have one ( a mortgage that is )

          I have purchased a property in Latin America quite recently, and came to a private agreement with the (previous) owner, 1/3rd cash on the barrel-head, another the rest in regular monthly installments, no interest paid, no banks necessary, everybody is happy ! Its quite common in this country too as no one really trusts the banks there.

          now i just have to learn spanish !

  19. Jepenseque 19

    Hi all

    this is good debate. What I am interested in is a what level of min wages does a further increase become significant from an employment perspective? This is the crux of the debate. Is it at 12, 15, 20 dolloars an hour? No one wants to see higher unemployment. If I say had a small office business that was cleaned at night and the cost to do that was say 2 hours or about 29 bucks at current min wage would I still get it done at $35 or $40 a night. Some business might go back to getting it cleaned only say 3 nights a week. What do you all think? Cheers

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1

      I think the evidence is that minimum wage rises boost the economy. If you think they do something else, stop concocting hypothetical examples and look at the huge amount of data available.

      Your myth that it will result in higher unemployment is a myth. Do you understand what the word myth means? It means you can easily refute me by pointing to some real world examples where your myth came true.

      The onus is on you to provide facts in support of your false beliefs.

      • s y d 19.1.1

        Jepenesque – buy a vacumm cleaner, put some sounds on (stiff little fingers maybe) and clean yer own office…

        or perhaps you won’t be able to afford heated seats in your next new car cos the working poor are sucking too much outta your hypothetical business

    • Wreckingball 19.2

      Jepenseque makes exactly the right point. At some point, as a business owner, you will decide not to get the cleaners in every day. That is indisputable. When you extrapolate this effect on all businesses and all labour it will lead to a reduction. There will also be a substitution effect from people to machines as pointed out above. Unemployment will go up.

      As you stated above One Anonymous Bloke, “the evidence is that minimum wage rises boost the economy”. If that were the case, and as I have already said below in my last post, why don’t we set the minimum wage at a much higher level, to encourage even more growth?

      • Tracey 19.2.1

        So to be clear. It is better to pay people less than a living wage because you are doing them a favour. If you have to pay a living wage you will do it yourself?

        That is a tui sign

      • One Anonymous Bloke 19.2.2

        Right then, so the highest unemployment will be in the US states that have the highest minimum wage, right? Wrong.

        You are one of those people who thinks the argumentum ad nauseam carries weight; get a clue: it doesn’t matter how many time you parrot your false beliefs: they’re false, or you would be able to cite real world examples to back them up, and you can’t because the real world shows the opposite of your claims. Yes, it does.

  20. grumpy 20

    Always amazes me that those calling for a rise in the minimum wage are the same ones calling for a lower Kiwi dollar.
    Wages in New Zealand are too low but need to be increased at the same time as a high dollar is maintained.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1

      Always amazes me that those with the most money get so angry when it is suggested that those with the least need a little extra to get by, but that’s the real world: extreme wealth degrades personal ethics.

      • Grumpy 20.1.1

        ……but…….but, if wages go up and the dollar falls, then in real terms they are no better off?

  21. Karen 21

    The response from the right is always this will increase unemployment. This is an interesting study that disputes that theory.

    http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/min-wage-2013-02.pdf

    The conclusion is interesting.

    “Economists have conducted hundreds of studies of the employment impact of the minimum wage.

    Summarizing those studies is a daunting task, but two recent meta-studies analyzing the research conducted since the early 1990s concludes that the minimum wage has little or no discernible effect on the employment prospects of low-wage workers.

    The most likely reason for this outcome is that the cost shock of the minimum wage is small relative to most firms’ overall costs and only modest relative to the wages paid to low-wage workers. In the traditional discussion of the minimum wage, economists have focused on how these costs affect employment outcomes, but employers have many other channels of adjustment.

    Employers can reduce hours, non-wage benefits, or training. Employers can also shift the composition toward higher skilled workers, cut pay to more highly paid workers, take action to increase worker productivity (from reorganizing production to increasing training), increase prices to consumers, or simply accept a smaller profit margin. Workers may also respond to the higher wage by working harder on the job. But, probably the most important channel of adjustment is through reductions in labor turnover, which yield significant cost savings to employers. “

    • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1

      The debate is over, after some troublemakers collated mountains of evidence that proves that right wing drivel is drivel.

  22. Hagar 22

    One way to test what effect of increasing the minimum wage is to increase everyone’s wages by 100% and see what happens.

  23. Wreckingball 23

    If a raising the minimum wage boosts the economy and economic growth, why don’t we make the minimum wage $100 an hour, or even $1000 an hour? That will surely just help the economy grow even quicker.

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      Hey dude, if 3 pieces of fruit a day are better for you than 2 pieces of fruit a day, why not eat 300 pieces per day?

      Moran.

      • Wreckingball 23.1.1

        A specious comment CV. Biology and the economy cannot be compared. Can you not answer the question??

    • Lanthanide 23.2

      Because raising the minimum wage to $100 or $1000 an hour would be hugely inflationary.

      Raising the minimum wage to $15 and then $16.25 an hour will not be hugely inflationary.

      It is a bad idea to implement policy that is hugely inflationary.

      Any other questions you want answered?

      • Wreckingball 23.2.1

        The $1000 wage was obviously a very crude example but my point still stands (regardless of the inflationary effect). If increasing the minimum wage does increase economic growth, surely a Labour government would do all that it could to increase the minimum wage as quickly as possible (taking into account inflationary pressures).

        The fact is that such a move would kill the economy. As I, at 19.2, have outlined (as well as others on this thread), there will be a substitution effect away from low-wage workers. The marginal productivity of that extra low-wage worker will be lower than the marginal cost of that worker.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 23.2.1.1

          How about you cite some real world examples to support your fantasies Wreckingball? An impossible task, because there aren’t any, and at least you might be dissuaded from demonstrating your ignorance any further.

          • Wreckingball 23.2.1.1.1

            Just three of the multitude of research that backs up my statements above:
            http://www.cato.org/blog/we-shouldnt-follow-germany-minimum-wage
            http://americanactionforum.org/research/how-minimum-wage-increased-unemployment-and-reduced-job-creation-in-2013
            http://davidcard.berkeley.edu/papers/njmin-aer.pdf

            I studied the minimum wage – unemployment effect when I did my did my economics honours degree, which specialised in public policy. The large bulk of evidence supports a negative minimum wage – unemployment effect.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 23.2.1.1.1.1

              Cato? American Action Forum? :lol: Right wing echo chamber much? Where’s the peer review?

              Did you read the Card study?

              We find no indication that the rise in the minimum wage reduced employment.

              Own goal, chump.

            • Minarch 23.2.1.1.1.2

              “http://www.cato.org/blog/we-shouldnt-follow-germany-minimum-wage”

              “The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C.”

              says it all really….

              about as credible as

              http://www.jbs.org/

              or maybe

              http://www.davidicke.com

            • Tracey 23.2.1.1.1.3

              Oh dear, it seems your Degree is useless

              http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/min-wage-2013-02.pdf

              The conclusion is interesting.

              “Economists have conducted hundreds of studies of the employment impact of the minimum wage.

              Summarizing those studies is a daunting task, but two recent meta-studies analyzing the research conducted since the early 1990s concludes that the minimum wage has little or no discernible effect on the employment prospects of low-wage workers.

              The most likely reason for this outcome is that the cost shock of the minimum wage is small relative to most firms’ overall costs and only modest relative to the wages paid to low-wage workers. In the traditional discussion of the minimum wage, economists have focused on how these costs affect employment outcomes, but employers have many other channels of adjustment.

              Employers can reduce hours, non-wage benefits, or training. Employers can also shift the composition toward higher skilled workers, cut pay to more highly paid workers, take action to increase worker productivity (from reorganizing production to increasing training), increase prices to consumers, or simply accept a smaller profit margin. Workers may also respond to the higher wage by working harder on the job. But, probably the most important channel of adjustment is through reductions in labor turnover, which yield significant cost savings to employers. “

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Oh dear, it seems your Degree is useless.

                Yeah, it looks like “study” means “read what other people have written” as opposed to “look at raw data”.

                Don’t feel bad Wreckingball, ignorance is a condition we all share.

              • Minarch

                “simply accept a smaller profit margin” BLASPHEMY !!!! :-)

            • McFlock 23.2.1.1.1.4

              lol you had me at cato.org.

              You do realise that the only actual paper you linked to found that the rise in the minimum wage increased employment, not unemployment?
              I.e. reality didn’t match the theory.

              Contrary to the central prediction of the textbook model of the minimum wage, but consistent with a number of recent studies based on cross-sectional time-series comparisons of affected and unaffected markets or employers, we find no evidence that the rise in New Jersey’s minimum wage reduced employment at fast-food restaurants in the state. Regardless of whether we compare stores in New Jersey that were affected by the $5.05 minimum to stores in eastern Pennsylvania (where the minimum wage was constant at $4.25 per hour) or to stores in New Jersey that were initially paying $5.00 per hour or more (and were largely unaffected by the new law), we find that the increase in the minimum wage increased employment.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Ladies and Gentleman, put your hands together and give us a big round of applause for the one, the only, your favourite, Reality’s Liberal Bias!

            • Wreckingball 23.2.1.1.1.5

              It is unfortunate that my google search for the first three papers that support my theory returned did not show what they purported. However, we studied this extensively in our economics class and my proposition still stands – I just don’t have the time to dredge up the (correct) papers right now

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                :lol:

                Did you read Tracey’s comment at 23.2.1.1.1.3?

                It sounds very much to me as though your “study” was confined to theory not raw data, which is no doubt why so many real studies refer to their failure to find evidence for expected text book outcomes.

                Now you can say thankyou to Tracey for the meta-analysis she clued you into, and readjust your world view a little.

                I bet you cling to your false belief instead. It’s what we do.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                “…my google search for the first three papers that support my theory…”

                1. It’s not your theory.
                2. It’s not even a theory: theories attempt to explain actual phenomena.
                3. The trick is to search for things that undermine your beliefs; you’ll always find something to support them.
              • Tracey

                You did an honours degree, specifically addressed the topic and had to google for support of your position, and THEN, came up with ones that dont support your position? Which university did you get your degree from and when?

  24. adam 24

    CV did answer, because a ideologically loaded question is an ideologically loaded question. Wreakingball can you think of any other neo-con questions you need answered to justify your love of your ideology?

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