10 Mar 2016

Zero hour contracts ban passes final hurdle

6:25 pm on 10 March 2016

Legislation that bans zero hour contracts and extends paid parental leave has passed its third and final reading in Parliament.

New Zealand Beehive; parliament

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The bill extends paid parental leave to 18 weeks, and stops employers from demanding workers be available for work without an agreement giving them guaranteed hours.

It passed with unanimous support after negotiations with opposition parties.

Workplace relations and safety minister Michael Woodhouse told the house the bill gets rid of unfair employment practices.

"As a whole these clauses will make employers consider carefully whether they truly need availability provisions while still providing flexibility in circumstances where there is a general need for them.

"This means a better balance of flexibility for employers and certainty for employees."

The bill introduces tougher penalties for breaches of employment standards and gives labour inspectors greater powers, Mr Woodhouse said.

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