Role of the Labour Standards Early Resolution Team
The Labour Standards Early Resolution team (LSERT) is part of the Labour Inspectorate. This team 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 thus plays a key role by complementing the work of the Labour Inspectors, enabling the Labour Inspectorate to focus more resource on cases involving serious exploitative practices and larger systemic breaches of legislation in workplaces.
Role of Labour Standards Officers
Labour Standards Officers work with employers and employees (and other people and agencies) to make sure that workplaces follow at least the minimum employment standards and laws as set out in the following employment-related Acts:
- Employment Relations Act 2000
- Equal Pay Act 1972
- Holidays Act 2003
- Minimum Wage Act 1983
- Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987
- Wages Protection Act 1983
Their role includes inquiring, educating and providing guidance on minimum employment standards to employees and employers, and facilitating early resolution of typically 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
- parental leave entitlements.
LSO’s apply an informal "guided self-resolution" process to attempt resolution of complaints involving individual or smaller systems issues. Guided Self-resolution is effectively 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 them seeking the assistance of the Employment Relations Authority or mediation. 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.