April 2020 News
Read news releases and research items from our April 2020 newsletter.
Trends in Employment Agreements and Employment Law' seminars will proceed
Our highly valued 'Trends in Employment Agreements and Employment Law Update' seminars will take place in late July/early August but may be moved to on-line sessions. We open registrations at the beginning of May when we know how we intend to proceed.
Our team is continuing to code agreements and upload data to our database and unions, employers and MBIE continue to supply us with agreements. We will close off the data for the 2019/2020 year (1 June to 31 May) at the end of May as usual. So while the data we have will not relate to the period of the Covid-19 virus it will provide an excellent base for comparison in future years.
For information on the dates and times for the 2020 seminar and webinar series >>
The economic impact of COVID-19 and ‘gig’ workers
Dr Stephen Blumenfeld, Director, CLEW
Economies projected to experience the most severe labour market effects of the crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic are those in which unemployment has fallen to historic lows in recent years, such as in Britain and the US. A key factor said to have made it possible for those economies to sustain those low levels of unemployment over the last decade is the rapidly developing ‘gig economy’, characterised by one-off or short-term contracts for services, as opposed to full-time, permanent jobs.
While by no means an historic low, New Zealand's unemployment rate fell to 4 percent in the last quarter of 2019, marginally above the 3.9 percent posted in the second quarter last year, the lowest unemployment rate since it stood at 3.8 percent the second quarter of 2008. Mirroring the experience of other OECD economies, New Zealand’s labour market has relied heavily on the boom in jobs in the gig economy over the past decade, and this has undoubtedly contributed to its recent success in keeping unemployment in check.
Covid-19 emergency and employment issues
Peter Kiely and Melissa Hu-Davidson from KielyThompsonCaisley
Employers have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of workers as far as reasonably practicable and to actively manage health and safety risks. Those obligations extend to the risks posed by COVID-19.
Self-isolation also presents unique challenges. Employers are now able to utilise the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme to ensure they are able to support themselves and their employees, but many will still be faced with making temporary closures or redundancies.
Exploitation of migrant workers heavily penalised
Dr Stephen Blumenfeld, the Director of CLEW.
In one of the more egregious examples of an employer behaving badly, the Employment Court rendered a judgement in December against the owner of a Reporoa holiday park. The Labour Inspectorate brought the case on behalf of three migrants from China and the award granted by the Court amounted to nearly half of the wage arrears and penalties assessed for breaches of employment standards in 2019.
Interesting Articles for the lockdown reading
Compiled by Sue Ryall, Centre Manager CLEW with help from colleagues at CLEW
In the current 'locked down' environment we are hoping that there is more time for reading and reflection.We have therefore provided you with links to a range of papers and research related to the world of work. I am hoping to compile such a list with each issue of CLEW'd In.