14 Jun 2021

'A perfect storm': Major backlog in employment disputes

From Nine To Noon, 9:12 am on 14 June 2021

Employment lawyers say a 'perfect storm' of factors have caused a massive backlog in cases waiting to be heard by the Employment Relations Authority, putting strain on employers and employees awaiting decisions.

The Employment Relations Authority helps to solve employment disputes if the issue cannot be resolved through mediation.

But Covid-related employment issues, disruption to investigations caused by last year's lockdowns, and increasingly complex cases have jammed up the dispute resolution system. In the South Island, 60 cases are still awaiting allocation, while in the top half of the North Island, around 130 cases are awaiting allocation.

That's a 27 percent increase in the first six months of 2021 when compared to the same time in 2019.

Kathryn speaks with Anthony Drake, an employment lawyer and the vice president of the Employment Law Institute and Nathan Santesso, the director of The Worker's Advocate.

Tired or stressed businessman sitting in front of computer in office

Photo: 123RF