General policy statement
This Bill is an omnibus Bill and 1 of a package of 3 omnibus Bills that contain amendments to legislation administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (the Ministry). This Bill, the Regulatory Systems (Workplace Relations) Amendment Bill, makes amendments in the workplace relations and safety areas. The policy objective of each Bill is to maintain the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulatory systems established by the Acts amended by the Bills and so reduce the chance of regulatory failure. The amendments will achieve this objective by—
clarifying and updating statutory provisions in each Act amended to give effect to the purpose of that Act and its provisions; and
addressing regulatory duplication, gaps, errors, and inconsistencies within and between different pieces of legislation; and
keeping the regulatory system up to date and relevant; and
removing unnecessary compliance costs and costs of doing business.
The amendments were identified as part of the Ministry’s regulatory systems work programme, which arises from the chief executive’s responsibility to relevant Ministers, under section 32 of the State Sector Act 1988, for the stewardship of the legislation administered by the Ministry.
The Bills respond to the New Zealand Productivity Commission’s June 2014 report, Regulatory Institutions and Practices. The New Zealand Productivity Commission found that it can be difficult to find time on the Parliamentary calendar for “repairs and maintenance” of existing legislation. As a result, regulatory agencies often have to work with legislation that is out of date or not fit for purpose. This creates unnecessary costs for regulators and regulated parties and means that regimes may not keep up with public or political expectations.
This Bill, the Regulatory Systems (Workplace Relations) Amendment Bill, is a vehicle for these smaller regulatory fixes in the workplace relations and safety areas to be progressed in a timely and cost-effective fashion in order to deliver the flow-on benefits to business and the wider economy. It includes the following amendments:
Employment Relations Act 2000 (see Part 1)
The Employment Relations Act 2000 amendments will improve legal clarity and certainty by clarifying provisions in relation to liability for breaches of employment standards for persons other than the employer.
Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 (see Part 2)
The amendments to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 will improve the clarity and certainty of the Act in relation to preterm and parental leave payments.