2020 – 2021 Employment Law Update

23 December, 2020 | Carolyn Ranson

Along with the wage subsidy, the Government introduced several other measures relating to employment law – covering leave,

The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill

The Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill extended existing rights to parental leave from 22 weeks to 26 weeks and increased the number of ‘keeping in touch’ days an employer has to provide to an employee on parental leave from 52 hours to 64 hours.  These changes took effect from 1 July 2020.

Equal Pay Amendment Bill

The Equal Pay Amendment Bill allows employees working in female dominated industries (defined as approximately 60% or more women working in that industry, such as care givers, retail sale assistants and nurses) to bring a claim to address systematic sex-based pay discrimination utilising the existing collective bargaining process.  It allows female dominated industries to be compared to a male dominated counterpart industry or occupation. The Bill came into force on 7 November 2020.

Holidays Act Review:

The Government has established a special taskforce to review and provide recommendations to improve the Holidays Act.  This is in response to deficiencies in the current Act which has resulted in uncertainties regarding entitlements and payments for holidays and other leave.

The Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill

The Government is intending to increase the number of sick days that every employee is entitled to from 5 days to 10 days. As of December 2020, this bill was currently at Select Committee stage, but is expected to pass and come into law by the end of 2021

Minimum Wage Increase:

From 1 April 2021, the minimum wage will rise to $20.00 – up from $18.90. The starting out rate and training rate will increase from 15.12 per hour to $16.00 per hour.

Fringe Benefit Tax Changes

Fringe benefit tax rates will also change in alignment with the introduction of the new higher tax rate for those earning over $180,000 per year. Employers who provide employee perks are that subject to fringe benefit should contact their accountants to discuss.

A new public holiday day

The Government has also proposed its intention to add an additional public holiday – commemorating Matariki. This day would be observed either a Monday or Friday sometime during winter. No law has been drafted at this stage, and it is expected this change won’t come into effect until at least 2022.

Do you need assistance with an employment law issue?

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About the author

An experienced employment, estate litigation and elder law lawyer, Carolyn completed her law degree at City University, London in 1996. She was in house legal counsel for a large retirement village operator, before entering private practice in 2000. She joined
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