8 Mar 2016

Parliament supports zero hours ban

9:56 pm on 8 March 2016

Parliament has almost unanimously supported an amendment put up by the Labour Party to ban zero hour contracts.

After struggling to get the numbers it needed for the bill the government now has near unanimous support for the legislation.

Labour's amendment was supported by all parties in the house accept ACT.

The amendment would stop employers demanding workers be available for work without an agreement giving them guaranteed hours.

The bill is still being considered by Parliament, but must be passed by 1 April so an extension to paid parental leave can take effect.

The committee stages of the Employment Standards Legislation Bill were debated in Parliament this evening.

The government had been in discussions with its support partners and Labour to get the support it needed to pass the bill into law.

In exchange for Labour's support, National agreed to support the amendment put forward by Labour's workplace relations spokesman, Iain Lees-Galloway.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the change would be welcome news for those workers who had been forced to sit by the phone and sometimes left with no work to show for it.

"National was forced to seek Labour's support after United Future and the Maori Party echoed our concern that the Employment Standards Legislation Bill in its original form would entrench, not stop the exploitative practise of zero hour contracts."

But Prime Minister John Key said the changes were not as major as Labour claimed.

"That would be the perspective that [Labour] would want to give to their supporters. At the end of the day I don't think there is anything really different we'd intended in the legislation, we've just clarified a few points and as I say it's no bad thing working with the Labour Party to get a solution with this, it's important to New Zealanders."

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