The Regulatory Systems (Workforce) Amendment Act 2019 was assented to on 13 November and comes into force two months from that date. It chiefly amends the Employment Relations Act 2000, the Holidays Act 2003 and the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 with a view to clarifying anomalies or inadequacies in the legislation. The assent copy may be found at http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2019/0063/21.0/LMS83622.html.
The following is a summary of the amendments to the Bill, as stated in the introductory copy of the legislation:
Holidays Act 2003 The amendment to the Holidays Act 2003 clarifies that the maximum penalty for a person involved in a breach depends on whether the person is an individual or a body corporate, rather than depending on whether the employer is an individual or a body corporate.
Employment Relations Act 2000 The purpose of the change with respect to the Remuneration Authority is to allow for the Remuneration Authority to set the remuneration of Employment Relations Authority members who are delegated to take over the responsibilities of the Chief of the Authority. An amendment to the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 is also required to effect this change. The amendment clarifying the powers of Labour Inspectors will allow for more effective proactive enforcement of employment standards. Clarifying that Labour Inspectors may use their investigative powers to ascertain whether workers are employees will ensure that Labour Inspectors can access sufficient information to form a view on workers’ employment status (this being a necessary precursor to the enforcement of employment standards).
Remuneration Authority Act 1977 This change is in line with the related change to the Employment Relations Act 2000 (allowing for the Remuneration Authority to set the remuneration of Employment Relations Authority members who are delegated to take over the responsibilities of the Chief of the Authority).
Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 The amendments to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 clarify that the spouse or partner of a biological mother can become the primary carer of a child in cases where:
the spouse or partner is not a transferee of, or successor to, any entitlement of the mother to a parental leave payment; and
the spouse or partner takes permanent primary responsibility (to the exclusion of the mother) for the child’s welfare for any reason, for example, if the biological mother dies; and
at the time the spouse or partner takes that permanent primary responsibility, the biological mother either has not applied for, or does not qualify to apply for, a parental leave payment.