Labour Standards Officers decide which complaints are investigated by Labour Inspectors and provide early resolution assistance to the parties for the other complaints. They also conduct audits of employers to make sure all workplaces comply with minimum employment standards.
Role of Labour Standards Early Resolution Team
The Labour Standards Early Resolution team (LSERT) is part of the Labour Inspectorate. This team primarily provides a triage function for all matters sent to the Labour Inspectorate, and determines which matters are more appropriate for higher level investigation by Labour Inspectors or lower level ‘guided self-resolution’ by Labour Standards Officers.
The work of the LSERT plays a key role by complementing the work of the Labour Inspectors. LSERT does this by enabling the Labour Inspectorate to focus more resource on cases involving serious exploitative practices and larger systemic breaches of legislation in workplaces. Labour Standards Officers also conduct random audits of small-medium enterprises to ensure all workplaces are complying with minimum employment standards.
Role of Labour Standards Officers
Labour Standards Officers work with employers and employees (and other people and agencies) to make sure that workplaces provide for the minimum employment standards and laws as set out in the following employment-related Acts:
- Employment Relations Act 2000 (external link)
- Equal Pay Act 1972 (external link)
- Holidays Act 2003 (external link)
- Minimum Wage Act 1983 (external link)
- Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 (external link)
- Volunteers Employment Protection Act 1973 (external link)
- Wages Protection Act 1983 (external link)
The role of Labour Standards Officers includes inquiring, educating and providing guidance on minimum employment standards to employees and employers, and facilitating early resolution. Early resolution is typically for individual one-off breaches of the above legislation with the aim of ensuring regulatory compliance by promoting fairness in the workplace.
Some issues that Labour Standards Officers typically look at include:
- ensuring compliant individual employment agreements are maintained in workplaces
- ensuring employees are paid at least the minimum wage
- payment of annual holiday pay upon termination
- payment of public holidays, sick leave and bereavement leave
- individual wage deduction issues, and
- parental leave entitlements.
Labour Standards Officers apply an informal guided self-resolution process to attempt resolution of complaints involving individual or smaller systems issues. Guided self-resolution is the provision of information, guidance and assistance to enable the parties to resolve the matter themselves, whilst ensuring that minimum employment standards are being complied with. However, employees should at least have attempted to discuss the matter in good faith with their employer first.
Where the LSERT is unable to facilitate resolution, the parties are advised of their options to address the outstanding matters themselves which could involve mediation or seeking the assistance of the Employment Relations Authority. However, in some cases the complaints will be found to be more serious than originally recognised or they will involve systems issues that are not able to be resolved through the guided self-resolution process. These matters may be referred on to a regional Labour Inspectorate office for investigation.
Labour Standards Officers can’t give advice or get involved with personal grievances or general disputes about contractual matters contained in employment agreements, including contractual pay arrears issues.