Extra rules to protect workers rights on cards, minister says
Beefed-up labour legislation is in the pipeline to better protect workers’ rights, the Government has said.
Jason Hayward, the labour minister, said that the Government would ask the Labour Advisory Council to look at several potential changes to labour laws.
The potential changes to be considered include a requirement to notify the Ministry of Labour when an employer planned to carry out large-scale redundancies.
Mr Hayward said: “This will enable the ministry to provide the necessary assistance in a timely manner to employers, as it relates to compliance with the Act, as well as to employees, as it relates to seeking alternate employment and/or retooling them for the labour force.”
The minister said the advisory council would also be asked to consider stronger measures to prevent wage theft by employers.
The proposed measures would crack down on failure to pay employees for all hours worked, non-payment of overtime, failure to allocate tips to employees and not making statutory benefit payments.
Other potential changes would be clarification of what constitutes the end of a layoff period, the publication of employment standards and allowing workplace inspections by the labour relations manager.
Mr Hayward said: “This will ensure that employers maintain adequate employment records in accordance with the Act and that employees have the appropriate access.”
He said the advisory council had also been asked to provide guidance on independent contractor contracts after concerns were raised about unfair terms “that seem to take advantage of the current economic climate”.
“The Act was amended to address this long standing issue and allows for the manager of the labour relations section, in consultation with the Labour Advisory Council, to issue guidance for the purpose of determining whether an employment relationship more closely resembles that of an employee than an independent contractor.
“The Labour Advisory Council will consider this issue and determine whether it is necessary to issue guidance in this regard and the contents of the same.”