PositivePeople November 18, 2021 No Comments

Christmas Party 2021- What To Do?

As the year-end approaches, we traditionally move into setting in motion our planning for the Christmas party, whatever guise that may take. We involve our employees, set a date, find a venue, let them know what we’ll be doing and then let our hair down a little and have some fun. Even last year, despite the challenges, we were able to do this. Not so this year.

If your intention is to thank your team for all their hard work and the difficulties they have endured this year, and to recognise their contributions by valuing their efforts, then it becomes a no brainer.

You have to somehow create a Christmas party plan that is workable and will reward your employees.

If you decide that you are going to hold a party this year, then time is tight and you’ll need to get organised quickly.

The introduction of the traffic light system, likely in early December, still provides huge challenges for employers to organise a social gathering.


These include:

  • How many people there are in your organisation
  • The nature of your business
  • Are they geographically separated into smaller units, like branches?
  • Are there a number of natural work groups in your organisation?
  • The difficulties of inviting partners and/or children to any function because of vaccination and number issues
  • Are the vaccinated and the non-vaccinated employees separated at work?
  • Do you have a strong anti-vax voice in your workforce?
  • Do you have a strong pro-vax voice in your workforce?
  • Has the Government or have you independently mandated vaccinations in your workplace?
  • Have you the facilities to host a function on your premises?
  • What expectations do you think your employees have?

The first decision to make is whether to hold the function in November under the current system or to hold off until December when the traffic light system kicks in.

Holding it in November

It may well be better to grip the whole thing up, take control, and make a plan now that can be communicated, and your team can look forward to. In any event many Christmas functions are held in late November prior to silly season arriving, and this represents an opportunity to just get on with your planning.

Options for Auckland businesses

With a current limit of 25 people and restricted to outside socialising, potential options include:

  • A special take away lunch from a reputable restaurant hosted just for employees outside on site or at a scenic recreational park. This could work well if the employee numbers are less than 25.
  • The same arrangement but hosted and catered for by a senior manager at their residence
  • For larger organisations, holding separated Departmental lunches outside. This could have the feel of a larger gathering but would still meet distancing requirements
  • A small tea-time type party, held by Department, with special cakes and snacks provided
  • A virtual party with each employee Zooming in. Possibly with a specially delivered food/drink parcel to each employee. This could potentially work for a small organisation separated geographically
  • Deferring a party until the rules are clearly established and then holding it sometime in January to start the new year off on a good footing

Holding it in December

With the introduction of the traffic light system, larger gatherings will be permitted, but subject to a filter of vaccination certificates. If vaccination certificates are not used, then holding a Christmas function becomes difficult. If vaccination certificates are used, then up to 100 people can congregate with distancing, seating and separation.

Alongside any of the above options, you could also consider carefully choosing gifts for each member of staff. These could take the form of individual gifts or a choice of vouchers from different suppliers

So, the options are limited, but the important point that won’t be lost on your team is that you have put some thought into what can be done, recognised the importance to them and you have made a decision to acknowledge their sterling efforts this year.

We are here to support you, so if you would like to talk through your situation, please give us a call on 09-445 1077.

PositivePeople November 9, 2021 No Comments

Workplace Vaccinations – Have You Got It Right?


The hot topic of discussion right now, and the most important thing on many people’s minds as we wait with baited breath to see when Auckland will open up and as we try to understand what a new system will actually mean for us all.

But as well as the magic 90% mark giving us a date when we finally get to see family outside of Auckland, go to the gym, attend a gig, or have our next meal out, the vaccination topic also brings a lot of employment complexity and many questions for organisations to answer.

Some of the questions posed dive into unchartered employment and legal waters, and the considered answers need to be communicated with both balance and empathy. They also depend on the individual circumstances of each employee and each employer. Employers are also making decisions with a bigger picture in mind that also includes the need for talent retention.

Vaccination mandates

It is important to be clear that you cannot insist that employees be vaccinated. You can, however, mandate that certain roles may only be performed by vaccinated employees for safety reasons. The details on what roles and industries have been mandated by the Government, and will be in the future can be found here (Mandatory vaccinations for workers | Unite against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz)).

Even if your Industry isn’t covered by the Government mandate, it may well be that there is enough risk of your employees being exposed to Covid, that mandating roles to only be performed by vaccinated employees is still required to keep them safe. To determine this, Worksafe have published guidelines for performing a risk assessment. This information is currently being updated further, and this updated information is due to be published any day now. However, you can find the current information here (How to decide what work requires a vaccinated employee and WorkSafe’s enforcement approach | WorkSafe.)

Either way, if you decide to go down this path you still have to consider your responsibilities under the Employment Relations Act. You need to ensure you act as a fair and reasonable employer as you make your decisions and communicate with your team.

This would include:

  1. Developing a draft vaccination policy, which clearly outlines:
  • Your Company’s position on vaccinations
  • The processes you intend to follow to collect and store vaccination information
  • The process for vaccine exemptions
  • The application of the policy
  1. Consulting with your employees and any relevant Unions around your vaccination policy. This would include outlining the reasons for your position in writing and allowing them a period to consider this and respond
  2. Genuinely considering the feedback you receive in making your decisions, answering questions, and providing responses
  3. Providing your final decision in writing and allowing a reasonable time for this to take effect
  4. If you are mandating vaccination, considering redeployment options or alternative ways of working for unvaccinated workers, before making the decision to terminate their employment.
  5. The Government has also announced a 4-week compulsory notice period for anyone who’s employment is terminated due to their vaccination status, and while this isn’t legislated yet – it will be, so you will have to take this into account.

Vaccination Status

Some businesses may not be in the position to mandate vaccinations, yet there may be a need to understand the vaccination status of your team. This may impact the level of safety precautions you should be taking for Covid in the future or be something you need to consider for your normal BAU events.

What will happen if you want to visit a customer site where vaccination is mandated, yet you have an unvaccinated Sales Rep? Or you plan a staff event where the venue requires vaccinations passports to enter? Or your IT specialist can’t travel to another site, as they can’t board a plane?

These are all future possibilities we will have to consider, and that are just around the corner for us once the traffic light system comes into force.

Being armed with the knowledge of your team’s vaccination status helps you prepare for these events, can focus your vaccination campaigns in the right area, and helps you understand the impact any changes announced may have on your team.

The Privacy Act is a key consideration when asking for this information. You can make the request, but providing it should be voluntary. The information you gather must also be stored securely, and you should communicate clearly why the information is being sought, what is will be used for and  who will have access to it.

And there is more.

Other areas you will need to consider as a business will be:

  1. Your pre-employment process and how vaccination status fits in with this
  2. Your position on contractors or visitors who come onto your worksite

Each of these requires careful consideration, adherence to relevant legislation, and an employee centred approach which focuses on keeping your people safe.

While we have been in lockdown for some time and it may feel likes time is moving slowly, changes, updates, mandates and requirements in the vaccination space are evolving quickly, will continue to do so and will impact every workplace.

We recommend that every business takes the time to think this through carefully and acts now to keep your teams safe, be well set up for whatever comes next, and make sure you feel confident and ready for a happy Christmas break.



PositivePeople August 25, 2021 No Comments

Future focus is also a must right now!

$^&?!$^& Covid!

Isn’t this what most owners, managers and team members are feeling? It is extremely stressful for some, inconvenient for others, an irritant all round and just a complete drag for everyone.

As a nation it feels like we are all just well over it. Workplaces certainly are. And, without doubt, there will be a lot more patience required and a lot more sacrifices to be made as this Delta outbreak is contained, so that everyone can go about their business in a safe way.

This feels like the current reality and teams and individual team members in organisations are miffed. We understand that.

As a Leader and a Manager one of the key questions to answer at this time is:

What can I do right now to both look after and keep my team members motivated so that we are ready to take on the world both now and in the future?

The huge challenge is to steer your team through what is naturally a low point, to maintain morale with short-term customised solutions, and to prepare them both psychologically and practically to be ready to enthusiastically take on whatever is needed to be done.

You need a team firing on all cylinders to achieve that – they can’t be just dragging themselves around the park because that doesn’t help either now or going forward. It will take too long for them to get up into a go forward position, and having a workforce ready, willing and able to hit the ground running is what is required.,

Some pointers:

  • As a Manager stay positive and lead from the front at all times. Look after yourself and exercise, rest and reflect
  • Deal with and solve the everyday business practicalities of lock-down calmly and with focus
  • Claim the financial assistance you legitimately can
  • Pay special attention to your team, care for them and communicate frequently with them about both their own personal welfare and the opportunities that will arise going forward
  • Lay out your approach to both worst and best-case business scenarios and try and address any feelings of insecurity in your team. Open and honest communication helps.
  • Make plans beyond the immediate. Once you feel you have done all that you can to address the immediate issues, look forward and focus on some medium and longer-term goals, and involve your team in discussions around them. This lets them know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and also acts as a distraction from the current natural heaviness of a lock-down
  • Investigate Virtual seminars for your managers. Learning is a strong motivator and will help them be future focused.
  • Encourage daily catchups
  • Looking ahead, investigate and start the planning with your teams for:
    • Person to person management training & development
    • Succession Planning
    • Culture development/Values review
    • Performance Appraisal process review
    • An HR systems review
    • A comprehensive Wellness program introduction

The overall message is that within the constraints that lockdown brings, it’s critical for both your business’s health and the wellbeing of your team to still try and continue BAU, keeping an eye on the future as much as possible.

This approach normalises life for your team, keeps them moving and focused, and opens up a path forward. It gives them hope and reassurance that life will return to close to normal in the future. It  can bring the enthusiasm for the business and motivation back to life.


PositivePeople June 30, 2021 No Comments

Do you have a high performing leadership team?

No matter how skilled and talented your individual leaders are, in this challenging time of uncertainty and change, their ability to collaborate and communicate as a team will be key in your overall business success.

In the current environment, with supply chain shortages, a constrained and highly competitive labor market, and gloomy global outlook, all your business leaders will need to work together to be responsive, proactive and ensure they make the right decisions for your business’s future.

Coming together is a beginning,

Keeping together is progress,

Working together is success.

Henry Ford.

So how well does your leadership team work together? Now is a good time to reflect upon the overall success of your group and take the right steps to ensure you have a high performing team to see you through these tough times.

Is your team?

  1. Clear about their group goals, which are tied to your business priorities?

Making sure they are all clearly headed in the same direction is an important starting point. Try asking your leaders individually what they think the team’s goals are – if they’re in sync, you should get similar answers from the group.

  1. Clear about their individual defined responsibilities aligned to these goals? 

What does each individual contribute towards these goals? To get your team really firing every leader needs to be clear about their role, the impact it has and to be excited and motivated towards doing what they can to help the team.

  1. Able to communicate clearly and respectfully?

The best place to test this is to observe your team in difficult discussions. Is everyone’s voice heard? Do they respect each other’s opinions and really get to the heart of the matter? Too often leadership teams shy away from tough discussions or allow the loudest voice to dominate. Without everyone’s voice being heard you can’t be sure you have reached the best possible solution, so respect and effective communication is critical.

  1. Trusting of each other, appreciating individual differences?

No two leaders are the same and no two leadership teams are the same. This diversity can be what makes your team really hum, but only if harnessed properly. A high performing leadership team trusts each other enough to be themselves, take risks, share ideas and support each other in hard times

  1. Able to celebrate their success as a team?

A business win is a win for the whole leadership team, and this should be recognized, especially in these unstable Covid times. Wins are hard fought and may not come often and it is important your team feel proud of their efforts and inspired to keep going.

Putting the focus on your whole leadership team’s combined efforts, success and effectiveness rather than individuals will strengthen your culture, improve the leadership team’s engagement and help alleviate stress as they feel more supported within your business.

For over 25 years Positive People have been helping businesses grow their leadership teams through an understanding and appreciation of individual differences as well as improving relationships. Our MBTI assessments and leadership team building sessions enable your leaders to work through differences of opinion and conflict successfully and take the necessary steps to be a high performing team.

Contact us today to learn more or checkout our website for more details.


PositivePeople June 30, 2021 No Comments

Sick Leave Changes – are you prepared?

What’s changing?

Minimum paid statutory sick leave entitlements will increase from 5 to 10 days as of 24 July 2021, effective from an employee’s next sick leave anniversary date. The maximum roll-over amount of unused sick leave remains unchanged at 20 days.

What do I need to consider?

You will have already considered any implications from a payroll perspective and no doubt you will be updating your employment agreement templates accordingly (if not and you need help, please let your Positive People consultant know).

It is also a great opportunity to stop and reflect on the sick leave management framework you have in place and ensure that your people leaders are well equipped in dealing with sickness absence.

How can I help my leaders?

  1. Reporting: Make sure you have a good system in place so leaders can:
    • view accurate, timely information
    • consider absence trends (e.g. particular shifts/days of the week)
    • identify if an employee is getting close to their maximum paid entitlement
  1. Sick leave management: Be clear with your leaders about the steps they should take when addressing sickness absence issues and the thresholds (likely unique for each scenario to reflect all the circumstances) for moving into more formal discussions. Your framework could look something like this:
    • Absence reports (see item 1) are reviewed by leaders and their manager every quarter to identify any areas of concern and determine the best approach
    • Return to work ‘check in’ discussions (see item 3) occur after every period of absence
    • Leaders are provided with guidance/coaching on how to have the ‘check in’ discussions and how to manage the more challenging situations e.g. requesting medical certificates, employees taking unpaid leave when sick leave is exhausted, considering changes to work/hours in consultation with the employee
    • Communicate with employees how sickness absence will be managed via your house rules or procedure
  1. Regular discussions: It is good practice to have ‘check in’ discussions with employees consistently on their return to work to:
    • ensure that the individual has recovered and is fit to be back in the workplace
    • identify any work-related issues that might need attention e.g. workload / interpersonal issues
    • provide an update on anything that might have occurred at work in their absence
    • foster positive, two-way communication and
    • demonstrate that you genuinely care about employee wellbeing
    • flag if there is a possibility you will move into more formal discussions.

Next steps

The vast majority of employees will continue to use their paid sick leave entitlement in a fair and honest manner, and there is no reason to suggest that this will change. Just be sure that your leaders are competent and confident to manage sickness absence in a fair, reasonable and supportive manner.

adminPPWP May 15, 2021 No Comments

Recruit well to win talent!

Right now, the quest to find and employ the best people in their field is very competitive. For you to secure the super star your business needs, business owners and managers need to be doing absolutely everything that they can to ensure that people out there want to come and work for your Company.

This means doing a lot of things well – having a great culture, an attractive employment brand, offering personal and professional training and development, and to be very, very, good at marketing your organization throughout your total recruitment process.

“Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions, and a healthy dose of curiosity.”

(Richard Branson.)

Many organisations develop what can be described as a good set of recruitment systems. However, over time and with staffing changes, these systems become watered down, corners are cut, ad hoc additions are made and the whole recruitment process becomes incrementally weakened. This can result in you only attracting average candidates, and then also missing selecting the best ones from that batch.

There is no need to spell out what the outcome will be and, repeated a number of times, what this does to your chances of lifting your organization into the top tier.

To employ the best a top recruitment process needs to be in place so that you are 100% sure you are getting talent.

Focusing on the essentials is a great starting point to review your process:

  1. Decide on a Company recruitment philosophy and incorporate it into your recruitment policy

Do all your employing managers know that you only employ the best every time there is a vacancy? Does everyone involved in recruitment understand the need to only aspire to employ the absolute best and have a clear picture of what “the best” looks like? Yes, sometimes compromises do have to be made. However, the point here is to ensure that those involved fully understand where you expect them to start from. This is about their mind set and setting high expectations at the outset

  1. Develop a Recruitment Policy

Having a formally issued recruitment policy signals the importance of this critical activity. The policy needs to be regularly reviewed and continuously communicated within the organisation. It should include points related to:

  • Company recruitment philosophy
  • Equal Employment Opportunity statement
  • Channels of attraction/sourcing
  • Merits of tests /personality profiling
  • Recruitment process
  • Job offers and employment agreements
  • Induction & on-boarding
  1. Review or Write a Position Description

Often, we ask the questions of whether a Position Description exists for a role and most usually the answer is “Yes”. We also frequently establish that the description is out of date, badly written and is not outcome focused. Make 100% certain that the Position Description that is going to be used to drive the recruitment is current and solid, and properly describes the role for which you will be recruiting.

  1. Think through the Person Profile

In addition to the skills, knowledge and competencies identified to successfully fill a role, it is important to reflect a little deeper and think through the amount of inter-action the role will have with others. For any role that has a fair amount of contact with others, be it through meetings or individual inter-actions, it is imperative to give consideration to what sort of personality characteristics the ideal person is likely to possess. Also, to consider the dynamics of the current group and think about what sort of personality would complement the team (and also what type of personality would create problems or not add value in the team). Person profiles can end up very long with generic descriptions, which are impossible to recruit against. Make sure yours are clear, succinct and really contain the key skills and personal characteristics of someone who will be a success.

  1. Carefully consider and choose the channels of attraction/sourcing for each role

Make sure that the sourcing channels used to find a new employee are appropriate for the role. Each role is different and a standard approach trotted out for every role may not be appropriate and can be a big waste of money. Consider networking, social media, internal incentives, referrals, internal advertising, SEEK and Trade Me advertising, industry publications and external consultants.

  1. Deliberately use the Position Description and Person Profile to evaluate each application

Make sure that these two documents remain top of mind when assessing applicant suitability for the role. Its easy to get side tracked as a candidate may have some other great skills, but they aren’t exactly what you need.

  1. Screen applicants via both a CV review and telephone screening

Rather than inviting Possibles into an interview straight away, screening Possibles via a brief telephone call can save a lot of time and effort. Using a few standard questions, the telephone screen quickly allows you to get a feel for a candidate’s suitability as well seeing if remuneration expectations align.

  1. Prepare for interviews by drafting a set of suitable questions

Put the time into preparing a set of questions that will be both standard for all those interviewed as well as relevant to the role. Frequently questions asked are done on the hop and are not well thought out or particularly probing. The interview is your chance to really find out a candidate’s suitability, so make the best use of the time by preparing well.

9 . A second interview is essential

It is imperative to conduct a second interview for a favored candidate as the second meeting allows the interviewer to see if first impressions still hold and also to view the candidate inter-acting in a more relaxed way. Depending on the role, a second interview also allows for more in-depth questions that are directly job related to be asked and for practical examples of transferable achievement in previous similar roles to be assessed. The all-important fit with the team and organization can also be explored in more depth.

  1. Consider a test or assessment of a favored candidate

For some roles, an on-site test can be very revealing and qualifies/disqualifies candidates simply. Personality assessments can be useful for more senior roles. Both tests and assessments provide more information for you to make a good recruitment decision.

  1. Reference checking provides external validation (or otherwise) of your impressions

Using a standard set of questions, with some role specific customization, allows for you to hear what others think of the suitability of your favored candidate for the role. Listen for subtle warning signs in their language as most referees will not want to directly provide negative feedback on ex-employees. This ability to read between the lines is an important part of the listening process in reference checking.

  1. Carefully consider your offer

Before making an offer, make sure that you are confident that the remuneration and conditions offered will be close to what the candidate expects. Whilst some negotiation is normal, ideally you would want your offer to be close to what the candidate would expect. This allows the new employee to join with a positive frame of mind, feeling valued before they start. If they have had to fight to get what they want (which you may have been happy to offer in the first place), it can create some dissonance before the employment relationship has even begun. Make sure that your Recruitment Policy spells out what the Company’s stance on pay rates is and ensure that offers reflect the intention of the policy.

  1. Issue the Employment Agreement quickly

Once you have made the decision to offer a job to an applicant, and have had the preliminary discussions/negotiations and have settled on the remuneration and conditions, move quickly to confirm the appointment by email, followed almost immediately by issuing the actual Employment Agreement. It often happens that tardy administration in this regard results in the favored candidate slipping away and accepting another offer. Then it can be all the way back to the drawing board. And often this second go at filling a role is hurried and conducted with less enthusiasm. Make certain that the Employment Agreement is signed and sealed prior to the start date.

  1. Induction and On-boarding really matter

Once the Employment Agreement has been signed, induction has pretty much started because in the new employee’s mind they project themselves forward and are already feeling associated with their new organisation. This means that any inter-action you might have with them from then on needs to be positive and reflective of your Company values. From there to the first few day’s introductions and orientation, and through the longer process of on-boarding, every step of the way needs to be professionally handled. This initial period in an organisation is critical and needs to be well organized.

If you need help with any aspect of your recruitment, we can help. Working with you, Positive People have over 25 years of recruitment success.

Call us on 09 445 1077 or email info@positivepeople.co.nz


PositivePeople January 27, 2021 No Comments

Developing an Annual HR Plan.

Your people determine your success. And HR exists to ensure that your people are best able to achieve your business goals.

In these times, just letting the people connected aspects in your business unfold as they do can have a negative impact on your business. All HR matters need to be thought about, positively steered and well managed to get the optimum out of your people and also to prevent and reduce all associated employment risks.

This is where having a clear and communicable HR Plan is essential.

An HR Plan gives direction, assures your staff that you value them, and allows for all the different aspects of HR that impact on your business to be effectively managed for best return. And, importantly, it sets up a great employee experience which is key to retaining your good people.

An HR Plan will usually include:

  • Key business goals
  • Identification of the key HR areas in your business that will support the achievement of your business goals. For example – HR Strategy, Recruitment, Communication, Engagement, Training and Leadership Development, Performance Management, Culture, HR policies, Resource planning, Remuneration
  • An objective associated with each of the identified areas
  • Prioritised actions to take
  • Assigned responsibilities
  • Deadlines
  • HR Plan communication
  • Monthly review process

With a solid HR Plan in place supporting your business objectives, you will be well set up to meet all HR challenges that arise head-on and ensure your business success.

Positive People is has over 25 years experience in developing and implementing HR Plans. Speak to us today. Call us on 09 445 1077 or email info@positivepeople.co.nz

Use 2020 lessons to create a successful 2021!

Covid-19 hit us with a bang early in the year. Health, business and social effects are still a problem and a worry to all organisations.

This has lead us to reflect on this very unusual year and consider what we have learned and, critically, to work out what actions organisations need to take to ensure that they can survive and thrive in 2021.

What have we learned?

  • The health effects of Covid-19 have to be taken seriously
  • Government actions have a profound effect on the running of the economy
  • Every person is affected in some way
  • The Government aid packages have been of great assistance to many businesses
  • Many businesses have not survived
  • Many business owners and managers have had to absorb significant responsibilities and stresses of the year
  • Businesses have had to be resilient and prepared to do things differently
  • Flexibility, agility and innovation have leapt to the forefront of business survival
  • Remote working has become something for all organisations to get to grips with
  • Mental health and wellbeing has emerged as a “must have” focus
  • HR is not just about HR administration software and employment law compliance – it is much deeper and more relational
  • Regular communication and contact channels with your employees are non-negotiables
  • The importance and value of engaged and committed employees to organisations has never been higher

As an HR Consultancy servicing mainly medium-size businesses, over the last few months we have noticed a surge of enquiries from organisations wanting to develop and grow both individuals and teams, and to team-build. The importance of high performing dedicated and committed employees has never been more in focus.

This realization of the need to take positive steps to enhance individual performance and also creates a collaborative high-performance culture sets the scene for a successful 2021 HR strategy.

Amongst the top issues for a successful 2021 will be the quality of
HR in your business.

What HR things can you do to make sure your business survives and thrives in 2021?

  • Develop an HR strategy that has individual and group development, and collaborative teamwork at its core
  • Develop an annual HR plan that drives a disciplined approach to implementing the important People goals that you set
  • Review your communication channels with your employees. Are they properly set up and do they really work?
  • Ensure that you have groups set up for innovation and continuous improvement initiatives
  • Ask your team to let you know what you did well and what you could improve on in your 2020 Covid-19 response
  • Review the associations and partnerships that you have that potentially could help you out if further crises develop
  • Review/introduce Remote Work, Flexible Work and Wellness policies
  • Review your HR plan monthly to stay on top of these critical HR matters

2021 is just around the corner and the better prepared you are for what it may bring, the better you will both survive and be successful in your business.

Positive People have over 25 years’ experience guiding employers put in place HR initiatives that serve the business well. Call us today on 09-445 01277 to ensure you are well set up for a successful 2021.Teamwork

PositivePeople October 22, 2020 No Comments

Labour’s Landslide Victory = A Changing Employment Environment

Start now to think through the employment changes and challenges that will certainly confront you in the coming months.

The election was an historic one – Labour won 49% of the vote with a slam-dunk victory. This means Labour can choose to govern alone – the first time this has happened since New Zealand introduced a mixed member proportional (MMP) electoral system in 1993.

There are no doubt going to be many workplace challenges ahead – not least being able to afford the terms and conditions enhancements, as well as the ability to work constructively with Unions because it is a certainty that Unions will increasingly come to the fore in the next little while.

What does this mean for you? And what does it mean for workplace relations?

The Labour Party’s Workplace Relations and Safety policy is based on a principle that businesses and the economy will be boosted by supporting workers and valuing their contribution.

Specifically, Labour’s Workplace Relations policy commits to:

  • Increasing SICK LEAVE – from 5 days to 10 days; Labour plans to do this within the first 100 days.
  • Increasing WAGES and continuing to improve PAY EQUITY –the minimum wage will increase from $18.90 to $20 in 2021 and legislation will be introduced around pay transparency.
  • Legislate and implement FAIR PAY AGREEMENTS- fair pay agreements are industry-wide agreements set by Unions and employers that establish minimum terms and conditions for workers.
  • Strengthen key EMPLOYMENT LEGISLATION – changes to the HOLIDAYS ACT are planned to simplify leave calculations, and to allow sick leave and annual leave to be taken as it is accrued.
  • A MATARIKI PUBLIC HOLIDAY will also be introduced from 2022.
  • PROTECT VULNERABLE WORKERS – increasing protections for dependent contractors (dependent contractors are workers who are under the control of an employer but who do not receive the legal protections that are currently provided to regular employees); and, raising the age for workers to be allowed to perform hazardous work (from 15 to 16 years).

If you’re a business owner, it is important to start getting prepared now for these workplace changes.

  • Think through the quality of the relationships that you have with your employees. The closer you are to them the better. The more engaged they are with you and the organisation the better.
  • Consider what changes need to be made to your employment documents and processes (e.g. employee handbooks and employment agreements) to implement the changes to sick leave, the minimum wage, and the new public holiday. Think about the cost implications of these and start to factor this into your future wage budget.
  • The implementation of fair pay agreements may mean an increase in Union presence in your operating environment. Consider how to work constructively with Unions. Get prepared for this by learning about your industry’s Union now, ensure you have a good understanding of the number of Union members in your business, and gain a good understanding of what Fair Pay Agreements actually are.

There are many workplace changes and challenges on the horizon for businesses. The impact on your organisation, however, can be minimised by planning ahead, bring prepared, and putting in place actions now that will make for a smooth transition when these changes take effect.