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Changes to employment law - August 2010

Changes to employment law

As flagged in our last issue the Government has been reviewing certain areas of employment law and has announced the changes that it will soon introduce to Parliament.  These include:

  • The test for justified dismissal will change from what a reasonable employer "would” do to what a reasonable employer "could” do. 
  •  Enabling the Employment Relations Authority to dismiss cases with no merit, and to pay more attention to the "right” outcome, rather than a minute scrutiny of the process.
  • Allowing Authority Members to penalise parties who fail to attend investigation meetings.
  • Enabling employees to trade the fourth week of holiday leave for cash if both employers and employees agree.
  • Extending the 90 day trial period for new workers to all companies not just those with 20 employees and under.
  • Union access to workplaces will require employer consent, which cannot be unreasonably withheld.
  • Tightening up on sick leave provisions to allow employers to require medical evidence of illness to be provided (at their expense) after the first day of sick leave taken.

The Labour Party has already indicated that it would reverse some of these changes if it wins the next election so the political football that is employment law continues. 

If you would like more information regarding employment issues please contact George Ireland, partner on 303 9923, email

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