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Last week, the Labour party and the Government agreed to abolish zero hour contracts.
Zero-hour contracts gave employers the power to vary employee’s hours, allowing employers to set them anywhere from zero hours right through to full time.
The removal of this “availability clause” comes just weeks after minimum wage was raised $15.25, and a new living wage was set at $19.80.
Labour have described the decision as a “back down” from National, who were under pressure from the Māori Party and United Future to remove zero hour contracts from the Employment Standards Bill.
Prime Minister John Key recognised it was unusual that Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse and Labour’s Iain Lees-Galloway had worked together on a matter of employment law.
Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff said he was “confident that working people will have more security of their hours of work” and, “if the legislation is passed with these amendments, it means zero-hour employment agreements are gone, and working people will be better protected from these kinds of abuse.”
Michael Woodhouse downplayed the amendment, saying, “it’s a good win for compromise, and we’re going to get a good bill out of it, but I knew we had a good bill going in”.
Key continued to stress that the change was minor, telling media, “we’re a minority government, and at the end of the day we have to work with other political parties.”
The bill will be debated in the House on March 15 before progressing to its third reading and final vote.