ACT Leader Calls For Change To Employment Law

ACT Leader John Banks today called for changes to New Zealand’s employment law following the reported case of an employee who was awarded $10,000 compensation despite his serious incompetence and alleged falsification of qualifications.

Today’s NZ Herald reports that the employee had falsely claimed he was a refrigeration engineer with 15 years’ experience and had provided his employer with misleading references.  During his employment he made a number of serious mistakes, the worst being a failure to isolate a set of cables which almost resulted in the electrocution of an apprentice.  

“There is something very wrong with the laws in this country if an employee can fake their references, lie about their qualifications and experience and be so incompetent they almost kill someone and still be awarded $10,000 compensation for distress.  What about the distress of the person that almost lost his life?” Mr Banks said.    

 “Our employment laws are complex and confusing and the majority of small to medium business owners struggle to comply, despite their best efforts to do so.  

“There are two changes that we could make to remedy this situation:

“First, reform of the law dealing with dismissals.  The current law is unclear with no standard process.  Small to medium enterprise often lack human resource support and struggle to comply as a result.  Business need greater certainty and that could be provided by a standardised dismissal process.   

“Second, the extension of ACT’s successful three month trial period to a period of 12 months for small to medium enterprise.  This will bring New Zealand into line with the United Kingdom and is a more reasonable time period for employers to assess the suitability of an employee. 

“By implementing these changes, employers would have more confidence to employ staff who at the moment don’t get a job because of the risk employers face if it doesn’t work out. 

“It would particularly help the thousands of young people who have been priced out of a job by Labour’s disappointing abolition of the youth minimum wage,” Mr Banks said. 


To read the story in the NZ Herald click here