Labour has registered another political victory this week by putting an end to zero hour contracts in New Zealand. Labour Party promised to get rid of unfair and exploitative zero hour contracts. Together with the unions campaigning to end zero hours they have managed to change the law.
Just a few weeks ago, the National Government was planning on entrenching them in law, making it easier for bad employers to exploit zero hour workers. But together with the 56,500 New Zealanders who joined the campaign to scrap zero hour contracts, they achieved this.
This will be a welcome news for all the workers who have been forced to sit by the phone and sometimes left with no work to show for it. Employers, including Business New Zealand, have told Parliament there is no need for zero hour contracts.
National Government has been caught once again buried its head in the sand, its inaction and failure over the last eight years to fix payroll issues has not only affected the workers but it could also be a huge pain for employers. This is a serious management issue from the government.
Revelation of a $30 million botch up in miscalculation to NZ Police besides 3,000 MBIE staff paid the wrong amount in holiday entitlements could be a tip of the iceberg. Interpretation of complex holiday pay laws and multiple ways left open to calculate holiday pay has only worsen the issue.
The calculations can be based on either ordinary weekly pay at the beginning of the holiday or average weekly earnings over the previous 12 months, "whichever is the greater."
Employers are urged to check that their payroll systems are choosing "the way that gives the greater amount of holiday pay". The legal obligation is to pay the higher amount capable of being calculated.
The workers who feel they may have been wrongly or underpaid should speak up. It is a fundamental part of any organisation to be able to pay its staff properly. The workers need to be able to have confidence in their pay packet. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is responsible for this aspect of the law. If they cannot pay their people properly, how can anyone else in wider New Zealand be expected to pay theirs. It is a huge embarrassment for the ministry in charge of employment law and wants an inquiry. Labour has demanded the government must take full responsibility and a full independent inquiry is needed so we know what happened and when.
Sunny Kaushal is one of the senior activists and an active member in Kiwi Indian community. He was the Labour Party Candidate in General Election 2011 and 2014.