New obligation for employers comes into force on 6 May

From 6 May 2019 employers must provide certain new employees a copy of the just released ‘Active Choice Form’ (Form). The purpose of the Form is for employees to notify their intent to join the union and/or object to their information being provided to the union(s). A copy of the Form can be found here.

This new obligation arises from the Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018 passed by Government late last year to strengthen collective bargaining and union rights in the workplace.

To comply with this new obligation, employers need to note:

  • the Form must be provided to new employees who are employed to do work that is covered by a collective agreement within 10 days of starting employment;
  • completing the Form is optional for employees;
  • the employee has 30 days from start of their employment to return the Form;
  • if an employee does not fill in the Form and return it within 30 days of starting the new job, the employer is required to tell the relevant union(s) the employee’s name and that they didn’t return the form; and
  • if an employee does complete and return the Form, the employer must pass the completed Form onto the union(s), which cover the employee’s work, unless they objected to their information being provided to the union(s) by ticking the relevant box on the form.

Further guidance from Employment New Zealand on the Form can be found here.

Do not forget – other changes also come into force on 6 May 2019. These include:

  • trial periods;
  • rest and meal breaks; and
  • the ’30-day rule’.

You can read more about these changes here and here.

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