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Parliament passes changes to Employment Relations Act

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2018, passed in Parliament yesterday, changes employment law with the aim to improve fairness in the workplace and deliver decent work conditions and fair wages.

The Act restores protections for employees, especially vulnerable employees, and strengthens the role of collective bargaining in the workplace. Many of the changes are familiar to businesses, as they roll the law back to how it was as recently as 2015.

The key changes include:

  • reinstating prescribed meal and rest breaks
  • strengthening collective bargaining and union rights
  • restoring protections for vulnerable workers, such as those in the cleaning and catering industries, regardless of the size of their employer
  • limiting 90-day trials to business with fewer than 20 employees.

Most changes take effect at two stages: the day after Royal assent (expected the week of 10 December), and on Monday 6 May 2019.

Changes under the Employment Relations Amendment Bill 2018