Thursday, 15 October 2015 12:56 pm | NZ Federation of Business and Professional Women Press Release

The Employment Standards Legislation Bill had the aim of protecting workers from zero hour contracts but its implementation will be to the detriment of a cohesive society and will widen the gender pay gap says the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ)

BPW NZ made its oral submission to Parliament’s Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee in Wellington today.

“BPW NZ is concerned that the Employment Standards Legislation Bill will work by stealth to legitimise zero hour and minimal hour contracts and increase the number of workers putting their lives on hold waiting for phone calls offering them much needed work” says Vice President Hellen Swales.

“The proposed bill does not set minimum thresholds for pay for workers who are on call and opens the door to exploitation of vulnerable workers.

“BPW NZ believes all New Zealanders need protection from exploitative employment practices but is concerned that this bill will have a greater impact on women who make up the majority of the workforce in the care worker, hospitality and retail sectors where such contracts are most prevalent. A widening gender pay gap will result.

“Many women are already opting out of community and family time because of employment contracts that impact on all aspects of their lives. If this trend continues it will weaken our families and our communities.

“BPW NZ is calling on the Government to mesh together their policies on employment with those on beneficiary work and availability obligations to build a society where family and community cohesion is valued.

“Data by age, gender and ethnicity needs to be collected to provide information on how many workers are living with the anxiety of yo-yoing hours of work, the need for “on call” child care and accompanying fluctuating pay packets. We cannot measure a trend if we do not have the data.

“It is time to significantly improve employment contracts and to ensure the social cost is factored into renumeration,” says Mrs Swales.


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