The Government has delivered on its election promise to support the lifting of incomes and working conditions of everyday kiwis with the passing of the Fair Pay Agreements Bill through Parliament, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today.
“At the heart of the Government’s economic recovery plan is people. We know when we invest in New Zealanders, they have greater opportunities to prosper, provide for their families, and contribute to our nation’s success and ongoing economic security,” Michael Wood said.
“Fair Pay Agreements have long been one part of our wider work programme focused on lifting the wages of those on low to medium incomes – ensuring better wages for employees is even more essential now as we tackle global headwinds.
“We are ending New Zealand’s 30-year failed experiment with a low-cost labour model. Over this period, many workers, have suffered through a ‘race to the bottom’, but, equally, our rates of labour productivity have been amongst the worst in the world.
“The Fair Pay Agreements Bill will improve employment conditions, by enabling employers and employees to bargain collectively for industry or occupation-wide minimum employment terms.
“By increasing bargaining co-ordination to agree minimum employment terms within a sector, outcomes for vulnerable employees will be improved and we will see growth in the incomes of New Zealand employees.
“This is especially the case for Māori, Pacific peoples, young people, and people with disabilities, who are over-represented in occupations which will benefit from a Fair Pay Agreement.
“We have worked alongside employers, workers, academics and civil society to strike the right balance in the Bill. I thank everyone who has constructively contributed to the development of the Act, especially the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group, chaired by Rt Hon Jim Bolger, which provided the initial recommendations.
“Fair Pay Agreements will help businesses, by levelling the playing field so that employers who are trying hard to offer fair terms for their employees don’t get undercut and disadvantaged.
“Today marks a significant step towards creating a more productive and inclusive economy, where all employees share the benefits of economic growth,” Michael Wood said.
More detailed guidance for employers, employees and bargaining parties will be made available when the FPA system comes into effect on 1 December.