ACT Small Business spokesperson Laura Trask has introduced a new member’s bill to the ballot to help employers and employees avoid costly unfair dismissal or personal grievance claims.

The Employment Relations (Termination of Employment by Agreement) Amendment Bill would allow employers to open protected negotiations for the termination of an employment contract.

“Sometimes when one New Zealander employs another it just doesn’t work out. Relationship breakdowns, poor performance, or personal circumstances can make an employment relationship unsustainable.

“Some employers would happily offer an employee money to leave, and in many cases the employee would happily accept. But this is not an option under current law.

“A common fear for employers is costly and stressful personal grievances or unfair dismissal claims, even when the employer has adhered to due process.

“Hefty legal fees for personal grievance and unfair dismissal claims should not be seen as 'the cost of doing business'. So my bill makes it easier for two adults to come to an agreement, shake hands, and move on to greener pastures before any dispute is escalated to the Employment Relations Authority.

“My member’s bill proposes the introduction of protected negotiations between an employer and an employee to terminate the employee’s contract under certain circumstances, such as when the employee is not meeting the demands of the role.

“The Bill allows the employer to seek termination of the contract with the employee’s consent, in return for specified compensation. Crucially, these conversations would be considered to be without prejudice, meaning they could not be used as a part of any future unfair dismissal or personal grievance case, unless certain exemptions apply.

“Similar legislation in the United Kingdom has proven effective, and this bill aims to provide a fair and balanced approach for both employers and employees in New Zealand."

A video of Laura Trask talking about her bill can be downloaded here.

A copy of the bill can be downloaded here.

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