Employment Relations (Restoring Kiwis’ Right to a Break at Work) Amendment Bill

  • discharged on 12 December 2017

Employment Relations (Restoring Kiwis’ Right to a Break at Work) Amendment Bill

Member’s Bill

263—1

Explanatory note

General policy statement

In 2014 the National Government passed changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000 that removed workers’ rights to rest and meal breaks after regular periods of work. Since the enactment of this legislation, we have seen large corporates attempting to remove their employees’ rights in contradiction to the Government’s claims that the legislation would benefit small businesses.

This Bill seeks to repeal those changes and reinstate New Zealanders’ rights to rest and meal breaks at work.

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 states the Bill’s title.

Clause 2 describes the commencement date.

Clause 3 says that the Employment Relations Act 2000 is the Act being amended.

Clause 4 amends section 69ZC to repeal the definition of compensatory measure.

Clause 5 replaces existing sections 69ZD to 69ZEB with new sections 69ZD and 69ZE. New section 69ZD requires an employer to provide rest breaks and meal breaks. New section 69ZE specifies when breaks must be taken.

Clause 6 amends section 69ZF to update a cross-reference.

Clause 7 amends section 69ZG to reflect the new scheme in new section 69ZD.

Clause 8 replaces section 69ZH with a section giving priority to enactments that require rest or meal breaks over the entitlement or provision of meal and rest breaks in Part 6D.

1 Title

This Act is the Employment Relations (Restoring Kiwis’ Right to a Break at Work) Amendment Act 2017.

2 Commencement

This Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

3 Principal Act

This Act amends the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the principal Act).

4 Section 69ZC amended (Interpretation)

In section 69ZC, repeal the definition of compensatory measure.

5 Sections 69ZD to 69ZEB replaced

Replace sections 69ZD to 69ZEB with:

69ZD Employee’s entitlement and employer’s duty

(1)

An employee is entitled to, and the employer must provide the employee with, rest breaks and meal breaks in accordance with this Part.

(2)

If the employee’s work period is at least 2 hours and no more than 4 hours, the employee is entitled to one 10-minute paid rest break.

(3)

If the employee’s work period is at least 4 hours and no more than 6 hours, the employee is entitled to—

(a)

one 10-minute paid rest break; and

(b)

one 30-minute meal break.

(4)

If the employee’s work period is at least 6 hours and no more than 8 hours, the employee is entitled to—

(a)

two 10-minute paid rest breaks; and

(b)

one 30-minute meal break.

(5)

If the employee’s work period is more than 8 hours, the employee is entitled to the rest breaks and meal breaks described in subsections (6) and (7).

(6)

During the work period of 8 hours, the employee is entitled to—

(a)

two 10-minute paid rest breaks; and

(b)

one 30-minute meal break.

(7)

During the work period over 8 hours, the employee is entitled to the following:

(a)

if the period is at least 2 hours and no more than 4 hours, one 10-minute paid rest break:

(b)

if the period is at least 4 hours and no more than 6 hours,—

(i)

one 10-minute paid rest break; and

(ii)

one 30-minute meal break.

69ZE Timing

(1)

If an employee and employer have agreed on the times at which the employee is to take rest breaks and meal breaks during the employee’s work period, the rest breaks and meal breaks are to be taken at those times.

(2)

If an employee and employer have not agreed on the times at which the employee is to take rest breaks and meal breaks during the employee’s work period, the rest breaks and meal breaks are to be taken as specified in subsections (3) to (7).

(3)

If section 69ZD(2) applies, the employer must, so far as is reasonable and practicable, provide the employee with the rest break in the middle of the work period.

(4)

If section 69ZD(3) applies, the employer must, so far as is reasonable and practicable, provide the employee with—

(a)

the rest break one-third of the way through the work period; and

(b)

the meal break two-thirds of the way through the work period.

(5)

If section 69ZD(4) applies, the employer must, so far as is reasonable and practicable, provide the employee with—

(a)

a rest break halfway between—

(i)

the start of the work period and the meal break; and

(ii)

the meal break and the finish of the work period; and

(b)

the meal break in the middle of the work period.

(6)

If section 69ZD(5) and (6) apply, the employer must, so far as is reasonable and practicable, provide the employee with—

(a)

a rest break halfway between—

(i)

the start of the work period and the meal break; and

(ii)

the meal break and the finish of the work period; and

(b)

the meal break in the middle of the work period.

(7)

If section 69ZD(5) and (7) apply, the employer must, so far as is reasonable and practicable, provide the employee with—

(a)

if the period is at least 2 hours and no more than 4 hours, the rest break in the middle of the work period:

(b)

if the period is at least 4 hours and no more than 6 hours,—

(i)

the rest break one-third of the way through the work period; and

(ii)

the meal break two-thirds of the way through the work period.

6 Section 69ZF amended (Penalty)

In section 69ZF, replace “any of sections 69ZD to 69ZEB” with section 69ZD or 69ZE.

7 Section 69ZG amended (Relationship between Part and employment agreements)

Replace sections 69ZG(2) and (3) with:

(2)

An employment agreement that excludes, restricts, or reduces an employee’s entitlements under sections 69ZD or 69ZE

(a)

has no effect to the extent that it does so; and

(b)

is not an illegal contract under the Illegal Contracts Act 1970.

8 Section 69ZH replaced (Relationship between Part and other enactments)

Replace section 69ZH with:

69ZH Relationship between Part and other enactments

(1)

If an employee is entitled to, or provided with, rest breaks or meal breaks under an enactment other than this Part,—

(a)

this Part prevails if the breaks specified in this Part are additional or enhanced breaks:

(b)

the other enactment prevails if the breaks specified in the other enactment are additional or enhanced breaks.

(2)

If an employee is required to take a rest break by, or under, an enactment other than this Part, the requirement for a rest break defined by, or under, the other enactment applies instead of the entitlement or provision for rest breaks or meal breaks specified in this Part.