The Labour Party’s made a last minute change, agreeing to support the Government’s legislation to end zero hour contracts.
The Maori Party and United Future remain unhappy with how the Employment Standards Bill has come back from Select Committee, particularly with what’s known as the availability clause, which leaves employees waiting around for work.
However, they would no longer be needed to get the bill through a vote.
Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse earlier said opposition parties misunderstood the legislation, and would be holding meetings to reassure them that the bill “is in very good shape”.
Labour leader Andrew Little said the back room meetings with the Government have produced change on the parts they were worried about.
“The rules around availability and short-notice termination of offers of short-term work, those are the areas we were concerned about.
“The original legislation looked like it was entrenching the worst aspects of zero-hours contracts.”
It wasn’t. The legislation was clearly getting rid of them, but if some clarifications have got Labour on board, that’s a good thing. Both parties agree with the principle that if an employee has no guaranteed hours, then they shouldn’t be able to be forced to work. In other words it should either be a genuinely casual contract (no obligations on ether side) or have a minimum hours guarantee in return for obligation of availability.