Zero Hour Contracts Run Out Of Time

The Government bill has recently passed its Third Reading ending zero hour contracts and extending paid parental leave. The Employment Standards Legislation Bill received bi-partisan support in Parliament gaining the votes of both National and Labour.

The original draft of the government bill made no mention of banning zero hour contracts, however Labour has attributed the Governments change of heart to a lobbying campaign led by opposition parties. 

Labour is hailing the amendment to the legislation as a victory for workers with Party leader Andrew Little saying the Government was “forced” to seek bi-partisan support from the opposition.

“National was forced to seek Labour’s support after United Future and the Maori Party echoed our concern that the Employment Standards Legislation Bill in its original form would entrench, not stop the exploitative practise of zero hour contracts.

“Today is a great day for all workers and the 56,500 New Zealanders who joined our campaign to scrap zero hour contracts,” Andrew Little says.

Minister of Work Place Safety Michael Woodhouse has said that the bill has made a number of changes to the current legislation, one of which was getting rid of zero hour contracts. Mr Woodhouse stressed that zero hour contracts was only one of the ways in which the Government were strengthening employment standards.

“The passing of this Bill delivers on the Government’s commitment to improve New Zealand’s employment law framework to encourage fair and productive workplaces without imposing unnecessary compliance costs on employers in general.

“The Bill eliminates zero hour contracts by getting rid of unfair employment practices where employers do not commit any hours of work, but expect employees to be available when required without compensation,” says Mr Woodhouse

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the Party was “delighted” the Government was forced to “change its tune” on zero hour contracts.

“The Green Party is supporting the rest of the legislation, we think that there are a number of things in there that are improvements on the status quo and we managed to get a number of other changes through in the bill as well so on the whole we’re happy to support it. 

“We weren’t going to support it because of the Zero Hour Contracts component and so we’re really pleased that the Government’s been forced to change its tune,” says Mr Shaw.

This article first appeared in Issue 4, 2016.
Posted 11:02am Sunday 20th March 2016 by Henry Napier.