Good Business: New Zealand’s Skills Shortage and Employment of Skilled Migrants

New Zealand’s Skills Shortage and Employment of Skilled Migrants

 

“Skilled Migrant”

 Someone who is skilled, has the knowledge and ability to do something well. If people migrate, they move from one place to another. – Collins Dictionary.

 People who have skills that will contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth. – Immigration New Zealand.

This article is not taking a political stance. It is highlighting the complexities in the current Immigration space and how to critically evaluate and navigate your way as employer or Skilled Migrant worker.

 

Immigration Reset confusion

New Zealand businesses are suffering a shortage in both skills and labour post Covid, a perfect storm created by factors such as the decrease in population growth, New Zealanders heading overseas again, excess retirement aka the “Great Retirement” and the not so new Immigration Reset.

In August 2022 Economist Brad Olsen stated that the population growth is at a 36-year low, his finding supported by Stats NZ data.  Net migration has fallen to its lowest levels since the 1990’s and the current labour market shortage is likely to continue.

The Immigration Reset was designed to rebalance the immigration system and make it easier for the Skilled Migrants we need to get a fast track to residency. Unfortunately, rather than make it easier for Skilled Migrants to be eligible for residence, it appears to be achieving the exact opposite.  Special Green Lists with high thresholds on qualifications, above median wage requirements, and a very limited range of required skillsets is causing headaches for all operating in the immigration sphere.

 

Chef vs Cook

The different requirements for Chefs and Cooks is an example that left everyone astonished, causing restaurants to close their doors because of the shortage of Chefs.

A “Chef”, who might have trained under world class Dabiz Muñoz in Spain, but without a Level 4 NZQA Professional Cookery qualification (ie. New Zealand cooking school qualification), could not get a work visa but “Cooks” (ie. Cooks not Chefs) could get a work visa based on their experience only (ie. no NZQA requirement needed if they have experience instead).  This anomaly was overturned on 18 October 2022; however, we will need to pay our Chefs and Cooks $29.66 per hour from 27 February 2023 as the Median Wage for immigration purposes will go up.

Skilled Migrants want certainty, whether they are in the hospitality industry or any other industry.  A Chef migrant uprooting their family to New Zealand to fill a much-needed Chef position, wants to know that they can get residence, unless it is their choice to live a nomadic lifestyle.  Without certainty that they can get residence in New Zealand the lush borders of Australia might attract them.

 

The confusion continues

Under the Immigration Reset, sectors which rely on migrant labour, like tourism and the primary industries, are intended to look different in future and to replace unskilled migrant labour with higher-valued jobs and the expectation is that industries will invest in automation and new delivery models.

The reset resulted in our tourism industry struggling the most. It is our largest export industry delivering pre-Covid $40.9 billion to the country. Our hospitality, horticulture and agriculture industries are also struggling because the Reset settings.  Under the settings, supposedly gone are the days of employing cheap “woofer” and “travelling student” migrants.

But a recent Beehive article has stated:

“Our government recognises the crucial part working holiday visa holders’ play in the New Zealand economy. We need their skills here to meet demand in industries like tourism, hospitality, agriculture, horticulture.  Since the beginning of November, we have seen weekly arrivals of over 1,200 visa holders.  Monthly arrivals have built, from 1000 in July to over 4000 in October. “

 This is 2022 data.  A Working Holiday visa is a visa issued to a typical student (low skilled, low value) travelling and working, for a year. Issuing easily obtainable, low value, low skilled visas to smooth over the long-term shortage of skilled labour is raising some eyebrows.

Further confirmation of numbers of low skilled short-term visas issued:

“Over 17,000 working holiday visitors have now arrived in the country, out of the 36,000 approved since March, providing much need labour during a time of global shortage.” 

Employing a Scandinavian student worker for a year might sound like a good solution to the current labour shortage, but is it feasible and efficient to retrain a new student every year as you hand over the position from working holiday student to working holiday student?  Should a newly employed student be the face of our $40.9 billion tourism industry?

 

Employing Migrants as an Option

Employment of Skilled Migrants is an integral part in any economy whether you are for or against the concept.  An OECD Migration report found that: migrants positively contribute by filling important niche sector jobs; contribute more in taxes and social contributions than they receive in benefits; have the most positive impact on the public purse; boost the working-age population; arrive with skills and contribute to human capital development and contribute to technological progress.

There are a number of pathways to get your Skilled Migrant employee into the country.  To employ them, your business will have to be Accredited with Immigration New Zealand.  The most prudent option would be to ensure that your Skilled Migrant employee can also qualify for residence so that you are sure you are able to keep the employee for a period longer than a year and knowing that if they don’t get residence they will have to leave the country after three years.

A holistic approach is needed, looking at the employee’s situation from entering New Zealand on the Accredited Employer Work visa to the point of obtaining residence and without residence we are back looking for new migrants to fill our job shortages.

 

If you have any questions, please contact us for an appointment T: 06 3490090 or email joamariv@horsleychristie.co.nz.  You can also visit our website at www.horsleychristie.co.nz

 

Joamari Van der Walt │ LLB │ BComm(Econ)-Law (Stellenbosch) │

SOLICITOR

 

Disclaimer: This publication should not be construed or acted on as legal advice. It is brief and general in nature. Specific advice should be sought.

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https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/money/2022/08/economist-brad-olsen-says-current-labour-shortages-to-continue-as-population-growth-hits-36-year-low.html

[1] Hon Michael Wood 15 November 2022 https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-zealand%E2%80%99s-tourism-rebound-continues

https://www.oecd.org/migration/OECD%20Migration%20Policy%20Debates%20Numero%202.pdf

Good Business: Fair Trading Act 1986 – is a Director’s liability limited?

Fair Trading Act 1986 – is a director’s liability limited?

 The Fair Trading Act 1986 (“the Act”) was enacted to protect consumers from misleading and deceptive trader behaviour and unfair trading practices.

As there are many small businesses in New Zealand, it is common practice for a director of the company to be dealing directly with a customer during a transaction.

It is important that directors do not breach the Act, as the law allows for a director to be held personally liable for such a breach.

 

What constitutes a breach under the Act?

The main breaches under the Act are when an individual (or a business) in trade:

  • Engages in conduct that is unconscionable;
  • Engages in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive;
  • Makes an unsubstantiated representation; or
  • Makes a false or misleading representation in relation to goods or services.

 

Is the “corporate veil” applicable?

It is well established that a company is a separate legal entity from its directors, shareholders, employees, and agents (“the corporate veil”).

The corporate veil is a metaphoric veil with the company on one side and the directors/shareholders etc. on the other side. Liability does not pass through the company side to the director/shareholder side.

In theory this means that if a director breached the Act, the corporate veil would protect them from personal liability.

 

Section 45

However, Parliament was not happy with the prospect of directors being protected by the corporate veil. Which is where section 45 of the Act comes into play.

Section 45 states:

  • Where, in proceedings under this Part in respect of any conduct engaged in by a body corporate, being conduct in relation to which any of the provisions of this Act applies, it is necessary to establish the state of mind of the body corporate, it is sufficient to show that a director, servant or agent of the body corporate, acting within the scope of that person’s actual or apparent authority, had that state of mind.
  • Any conduct engaged in on behalf of a body corporate—
    • by a director, servant, or agent of the body corporate, acting within the scope of that person’s actual or apparent authority; or
    • by any other person at the direction or with the consent or agreement (whether express or implied) of a director, servant, or agent of the body corporate, given within the scope of the actual or apparent authority of the director, servant or agent—

shall be deemed, for the purposes of this Act, to have been engaged in also by the body corporate. In summary, section 45 deals with comparing the state of mind of the director, to the state of mind of the company. If the two states of mind are the same and the director acted within their scope of authority, the Court can hold the director personally liable for breaching the Act.

 

What have the Courts said?

In Cornfields Ltd v Gourmet Burger Co Ltd (2000) 9 TCLR 698(HC), McGechan J said at paragraph 27:

“It will be a rare case where a director who participates directly in negotiations as to his or her company’s business will be able to avoid s 9 liability simply on the basis that he was acting only on the company’s behalf. The Fair Trading Act is in our view intended to cast its net wider than that.”

 This was upheld by the Court of Appeal in Kinsman v Cornfields Ltd (2001) 10 TCLR 342(CA), where the Court stated further that the word “also” in s 45(2) of the Act suggested that both the director and the company itself could be liable under the Act when a director acted within their actual or apparent authority.

In the 2004 Court of Appeal case of Giltrap City Ltd v Commerce Commission [2004] 1 NZLR 608, the principal and chief executive of Giltrap City entered into a price fixing arrangement which was contrary to the Commerce Act 1986. The Court found that the principal and chief executive had acted in the scope of their actual/apparent authority. Therefore, the Court determined that their conduct was that of the Company and they were both personally liable under the Commerce Act. The Court said further at paragraph 54 that, “there cannot in our view be any material difference … between s 45 of the Fair Trading Act and s 90 of the Commerce Act.

 

Summary

Both the company and the director can be held liable for a breach of the Act due to s 45 of the Act giving the Court the ability to pierce the corporate veil. As such, it is really important that your terms of trade and your general business conduct do not breach the Fair Trading Act.

 

If you have any questions, please contact us for an appointment T: 06 3490090 or email mattb@horsleychristie.co.nz.  You can also visit our website at www.horsleychristie.co.nz

 

Matt Bouzaid LLB Bcom

SOLICITOR

 

Disclaimer: This publication should not be construed or acted on as legal advice. It is brief and general in nature. Specific advice should be sought.

Local Government Elections 2022

Nominations are now open for candidates to stand for Whanganui District Council and the Whanganui Rural Community Board.

Now is also the time for everyone to make sure they’re enrolled at the correct address so they can have their say when voting opens in September.

The elections team at Whanganui District Council has put together some handy resources that you can use to help spread the word about standing for council and enrolling to vote on social media and websites. You can download social media tiles, posters, an info sheet and our latest media release here.

Resources will continue to be added to this page, so check back regularly.

Whanganui District Council encourage anyone thinking of standing for Council this year to check out the votewhanganui.nz website for more information.

You can also pop into the elections centre at Community House on Ridgway Street, Whanganui between 10am-2pm on weekdays and have a chat to a member of the team, or find them at the Whanganui River Markets or Trafalgar Square on Saturday mornings.

For more information about enrolling to vote, visit vote.nz

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NZ Chambers Submission on the Proposed Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) Legislation

18 May 2022

INTRODUCTION
1. The New Zealand Chambers of Commerce appreciates the opportunity to make a submission on the proposed Fair Pay Agreement Bill and confirms it wishes to be heard by the Select Committee in support of this submission.

Address for service:
• To New Zealand Chamber Network Director and Auckland Business Chamber Chief Executive, Michael Barnett; Email: mbarnett@chamber.co.nz; Phone 0275 631150.

2. The New Zealand Chambers of Commerce bring together 30 regional Chambers across the country, representing over 22,000 small and medium businesses who are active in contributing to the health, wealth and wellbeing of their regions, the national economy and growing GDP through international exports.

3. The Chambers’ members are diverse, ranging from professional service providers, manufacturers, freight companies, family-owned enterprises, retailers, and digital entrepreneurs pushing new levels of high-tech innovation and service offerings.

4. The Chamber is dedicated to supporting the sustainability and growth of private enterprise encouraging upskilling, entrepreneurship, and innovation to contribute to the development of New Zealand’s commercial success, international trade, visitor economy, and investment in infrastructure, technology, education, and cultural hubs.

5. Key to growth will be to reframe New Zealand’s reputation as a desirable place to live, work and play to attract the essential skills, capabilities, and competencies fit for the digital age.

6. Our members expect their views as business owners and employers to be forcefully represented in this Submission.

7. The Chamber approach is to establish constructive partnerships and relationships with policymakers and decision makers in government as well as other business organisations.

8. Our overarching aim is to champion equitable and fair outcomes to promote economic growth and social wellbeing, and a system that recognises and rewards talent addresses skill shortages and training needs and lifts the bar to build sustainable globally competitive excellence.

MAKE A MODEL THAT FITS THE FUTURE

9. The impact of Covid’s disruptions around the world and in New Zealand has been a circuit breaker, forcing a rapid shift to agile, technology-enabled operational, manufacturing, construction, finance, supply chain and service delivery models.

10. We live in a connected, digitally-enabled world where survival, competitive advantage and sustainable success for employers and employees is predicated on adaptability and adoption of the technology solutions, skills, aptitudes, behaviours and commitment to continual learning and improvement to enable peak performance in the new workplace wherever it is – in a factory, an office, a home or remotely with the world a borderless marketplace.

11. This Bill belongs in another era, one that has long been buried by private enterprise who seeks to recruit, reward and grow employee careers. It does, however, fit with the rigid hierarchies and pay scales that are so well defined in the public sector and contributes funds to unions to negotiate for members.

12. It’s hard to criticise good intentions to continue to raise the pay and conditions of the 5 per cent or so of our lowest wage earners and have mechanisms in place for all employees to be fairly rewarded. It is the way of the world and of this Government which is committed to securing economic recovery and investing in the wellbeing of New Zealanders with a balanced approach – as well as seeing through its election promises.

13. But there are costs for doing the right thing if the approach is wrong. Levelling the playing field and “stopping the race to the bottom” through fair pay agreements and compulsory negotiations that can be initiated by the minority to get sector wide agreements is not future thinking. That is days of futures past.

14. New Zealand already has comprehensive employment laws and can target interventions for sectors with bad employment outcomes.

15. A fair pay regime by compulsion will achieve nothing. Bad employers will still be bad.

16. Instead, government and business together, should strengthen existing standards.

17. Rather than imposing collective pay and conditions across whole sectors whether they are fit for purpose or not, the focus should be changed up to achieve a continually improving and progressive workplace culture that rewards lifelong learning and increased productivity.

18. It’s time to create a new model that captures today’s values and aspirations, builds on the best of now but looks out to the future rather than inwards back in time, a model that sets the bar high and recognises the new normal is values driven and people led.

RAISE THE BAR AND REWARD ASPIRATION

19. New Zealand needs a national transformation plan to attract, reward and retain the skills and capabilities to support an innovative, diversified, high tech and highly productive 21st century economy where we grow world class expertise and investment in priority niches be it agritech, food production, service and supply chain solutions or manufacturing computer chips.

20. Covid has exposed skills shortages and atrophied mindsets. Retaining and fostering talent is critical. We must change the narrative to create hunger and aspiration for excellence and sow the seeds for a revolution to take place across our education system. We need to grow curiosity, core numerical, language, comprehension, digital and analytical skills and keener social intelligence, to have a future proof workforce.

21. That revolution is already happening here, not just offshore, but across the private sector as employers realise winning customer preference means proving that who you are and what you stand for must be demonstrated across the value chain.

22. Increasingly, contemporary enterprises are realigning their vision, values, cultures, and behaviours to meet customer demands to demonstrate integrity, ethics, authenticity, accountability, and transparency to do right by the environment, the community, and their people – and publish independently audited reports on their impact, progress and challenges.

23. Businesses, including the 80 per cent of small and medium enterprises in New Zealand who employ 20 people or less, know success depends on being part of this movement and ensuring that their people, their employees, have the dignity, equity, and opportunity to have financial security, their health, safety, and wellness cared for, career development plans, timely communications and engagement and their performance reviewed so their contribution is recognised and fairly rewarded.

ALL IN IT TOGETHER DOES NOT MEAN FAIR

24. Wellbeing, equal opportunities for a step up and fairness is part of the Kiwi ethos. It is not enough of a foundation to create a prosperous future when workers are valued only by their hourly rate of pay not for the individual relevance of their skills, adaptability, mobility, and ability to learn.

25. The system being proposed will mean everyone’s pay being set across a whole industry for that role or class of employee. All assistant salespeople at the same pay, all hospital cooks paid the same. All managers paid the same. All IT programmers paid the same. All retail assistants with that title paid the same. How will the system cope with someone who is both a salesperson and a data analyst and won’t fit the box for that job class?

26. The differentiations in the Bill may permit differences based on district, class of employee or occupation but it still amounts to the same out of step thinking and refusal to recognise the need, particularly for private sector businesses, to compete to attract talent for hard to fill roles or plug skills shortages.

27. Business owners, the people who take the risks, put up their homes as the collateral to stay in business, generate employment and around 30 per cent GDP to the national economy, will lose their right to tailor a competitive package to attract and continually develop the right mix of skills and aptitudes to grow their enterprise and workforce.

28. In a free market, employers and employees must retain the right to negotiate an individual package that aligns compensation and reward with contribution and supports career advancement and ambitions with training and development.

29. If this Bill is shunted through in this form, New Zealand will perpetuate its default position of celebrating mediocrity and never motivating a tall poppy to bloom to realise their full potential.

 

OUT OF STEP

30. Government’s own advisors have counselled against the reforms, citing possible infringements of international labour and human rights obligations with workers having little choice but to join a union as the designated negotiator, the iniquitous no opt in or opt out provisions for employers, and the damage foreshadowed on targets to improve productivity, innovation, investment and competition for the good of the nation.

31. The proposal does not support voluntary bargaining but rather enforces it. That is an infringement of workers’ and employers’ right to freedom of association. It is out of step with best practice.

32. Other countries have moved to enterprise-level bargaining, after finding that sector-level bargaining was not conducive to good-quality economic outcomes or superior quality labour market outcomes.

33. This model for FPAs is not and will not achieve the worthy objectives cited in the Bill.

34. Being treated the same is not the same as being treated fairly.

35. Business cannot support this agenda and will not shut up or put up with compulsory collective bargaining rules.

FAIR BY CERTIFICATION MODEL A NEW WAY

36. The Chambers recognise that the FPA model is embedded in Labour’s union roots and doctrine, and pledge to electors and the Labour Party faithful.

37. We believe there is another way to ensure that employers behave ethically to achieve the desired outcomes.

38. As stated above the Chambers seek a new model that is fit for purpose and incentivises individual employee learning and development to compete in a digital age.

39. The private sector is resistant to reverting to a throwback, combative, unwieldy, and expensive labour relations regime that under any guise looks like compulsory unionism to match compulsory collective bargaining.

40. The Chambers propose that consideration be given to a new, independently audited and published rating or certification standard for firms that pay at least the minimum wage and put their reputations on the line to show the ethical values, behaviours, practices, and compensation, reward and skills development systems that make them a good – and appealing – employer.

41. The transparent and verified standard would be a guarantee to employees that their pay, leave entitlements, conditions of work, health, safety, wellbeing, and opportunity for career progression, skills development and continuous learning are fair and equitable.

 

42. As the system evolves the annual impact reports on social, financial, environmental, and ethical sourcing now used as part of authentic and transparent enterprises’ toolkits, could extend to measuring labour relations and employee care. This in turn would form part of the Company’s overall market compliance, performance measures and brand story to build integrity and preference via verified proof points.

43. The standards could have a star rating with different levels, audited each year by a peak business organisation like a chamber of commerce, or an audit could be initiated by an employee or group of employees who believe they are not being paid fairly for their contri bution.

44. Many private sector employers already publish a code of ethics and practice as part of how they attract good candidates for roles. The certification model would not be unwelcomed, but a key performance indicator, embraced in the same way as the B Corporation certification is taking off or the quality and ethical sourcing certifications that are now keenly sought as essential to winning customers.

45. The certification panel could have three members, including a representative from or selected by the Employment Relations Authority.

46. The checklist to determine a star rating would examine the provisions specified in the Bill including defining pay and penalty rates, normal hours, flexibility on work locations, sick, bereavement and holiday leave provisions, training and development arrangements and redundancy provisions.

47. The number of stars awarded would be progressive based on pay and conditions with one star for paying at least the minimum rate for a role and five star recognising a firm that offered a premium remuneration, reward and upskilling package.

48. The model would enable progressive employers to continue to lift the bar to nurture lifetime on the job learning and reward performance and productivity contributions instead of ringfencing a person and their prospects by their hourly rate which is what the Bill perpetuates.

49. The certification model would strongly motivate an employer who needs to lift their pay rates and provisions to do so or risk public exposure that would damage their reputation – their social licence to do business and most valuable asset.

50. That loss of reputation, embodied in a star rating, would be a powerful catalyst to identify failures and motivate behaviour change – and that will achieve, without the sledgehammer, the remit of the Bill.

51. The certification model could be voluntary as should any FPAs.

52. If there are disputes, either the certifier or as a next step, the ERA, can be brought in to arbitrate, mediate and make a final determination.

53. The Chambers would welcome any opportunity to progress a productive and constructive conversation to develop this certification framework for the private sector and the tens of thousands of enterprises and hundreds of thousands of employees who would benefit from a fair and streamlined pay and conditions system.

FPAS BY DICTATE WILL NOT WORK

54. While the Chambers want to progress an alternative model that will meet the private sector needs for flexibility, competitive appeal and differentiation, we recognise that the Government is moving down the path like a steamroller in a straight line, with heavy expectations to please the unions, as the employees’ negotiator.

55. We can expect the FPA in its current form, to be resisted and challenged by the private sector.

56. While the latest iteration of the Bill recognises the capacity and capability of respected organisations like the business chambers to be approved employer negotiators, we simply do not believe that compulsion is acceptable in 2022 or that all enterprises, public and private, good and bad, should be swept up in its grip.

57. Pursue the bad with targeted interventions, but one size does not fit all.

58. The promotion of FPA law should not serve as a membership and revenue drive for any group.

59. It is archaic to believe that workers should belong to a union. Just a trickle over 16 per cent of the workforce currently belong to one and there is no guarantee that the FPA will bolster union membership.

60. Under the FPA regardless of what employees might want, a union can trigger a fair pay agreement negotiation even if 90 per cent of the workers in an industry do not want one nor want to be represented or belong to a union, but minority rules. In fact, the union rules.

61. Many employers who currently have no involvement at all with unions will be forced to participate in this new bargaining framework and engage with unions for fair pay agreements.

62. Not all employers in an industry group will have a seat at the bargaining table, but all employers will be covered by the resulting agreement, even if they disagree with the outcome.

63. The agreements will be for individual organisational or job categories, which means a single business could be covered by multiple agreements, requiring different compliance standards for different workers in their business. In many businesses, especially in the SME sector, an employee may be required to carry out several tasks during the day, and each task could easily be covered by a separate FPA. For example, in many small businesses an employee could make the sale (a salesperson), pick pack and dispatch the goods (a store person), make the delivery (a driver), write up the invoice and input it into Xero (office person/accountant) then collect and bank the revenue (accountant). Who is going to arbitrate on which FPA applies? Lawyers will have a field day.

64. Current New Zealand employment law establishes a single set of minimum standards for all industries, with a small number of exceptions, such as the starting out wage versus the minimum wage.

65. For the most part, every employee, regardless of industry, must have a minimum rate of pay, leave entitlements and employment protections.

66. This means employers understand what to do when they offer someone a job and the penalties for failing in those clear obligations.

67. The Chambers’ suggestion of a rating system makes many of these issues redundant and eliminates complexity and costs.

COSTS AND COMPLEXITY

68. Government must recognise the damage Covid wreaked on the private and productive sector and the enormous challenge of rebuilding and staying solvent to employ workers and live up to their ambitions as responsible and accountable enterprises to feed families and the community.

69. For many employers, the main problem will be having to pay imposed salary and wage rates that they cannot afford given the introduction of minimum wages, additional sick leave, and rising operating costs from rents to interest rates, as well as restructuring and refining their offers.

70. The result will be increased risk of job losses, redundancies for out-moded skills, disincentivising training and apprenticeships and accelerating further automation and disintermediation of once manual and labour-intensive procedures and processes.

71. Business will be stung by compliance and administration costs as well as having to engage experts from lawyers to HR consultants to guide them through the new regime. Government will also have a heyday recruiting an army of bureaucrats to implement FPAs.

MEDIATION AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION

72. Fair Pay Agreements are going to be long and complex and are an open invitation to inevitable stalemates and mediation. They aim to establish rules for base rates of pay, pay scales, allowances, and overtime, which will all be different depending on the agreement itself.

73. Under the current proposal the Employment Relations Authority is the exclusive default mediator, using precedence to inform ruling, but they are also the final adjudicator.

74. Private enterprise cannot accept that position of a government sponsored body in this critical role. They are not state owned or run trading enterprises as found in other countries which apply this type of arbitration.

75. There are thousands of skilled, independent, and experienced mediators to use and ensure transparency and determination of issues.

VETTING AND RATIFICATION OF AGREEMENTS

76. The proposed law, having already given unions and now approved representative business organisation high office, also elevates the ERA as the body with the obligation to vet and approve each FPA if it ticks all the boxes.

77. Employees and employers covered by an FPA will be able to vote to ratify the binding agreement with a simple majority, overseen by the union and approved negotiators.

78. Once again, the ERA is the bulwark if the vote fails to support the FPA with power to fix the terms. Provisions also promulgated for MBIE oversight as well as supporting secondary legislation to nail down loose process in getting an FPA implemented.

79. No enterprise should be subjected to government dictating representation and ratification agencies.

80. Private sector business owners and employers cannot be disenfranchised to this degree. They must have the right to appoint their own experts.

CONCLUSION

81. The Chambers supports ethical, fair pay and opportunities.

82. This Bill will not achieve its purpose.

83. It will be costly, hard to action let alone implement and erodes the basic rights of employees and employers.

84. Defining which FPA applies to an individual employee, given the need for multi-disciplinary skills in SMEs, will be confusing and complex.

85. This Bill, couched in the language, job definitions and relationships of the past will not create the transformation New Zealand needs so urgently to compete globally and diversify its economy, lift productivity, and motivate, recruit, develop and retain skills that are relevant in the digital era to build prosperity.

86. The New Zealand Chambers of Commerce cannot support the Bill and its compulsory bargaining provisions and decisions.

87. The Chambers seek a new voluntary certification model that motivates and incentivises change for the better to lift the bar on pay rates and conditions to create a skilled, progressive, and productive workforce, rewarded for contribution and lifelong learning as part of an enterprise and its brand appeal.

88. We welcome the opportunity to participate constructively in finding a fair way forward with government and other organisations that can be implemented, gives workers – and employers – dignity, fairness and protects their right to choose and enables adaptation, flexibility and learning to meet our changing world.

 

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• Graduate Diploma in Accounting (Level 7)

Whanganui Chamber Community – don’t delay!

Scholarships are limited and offered on a first-come-first-served basis, so if you this is of interest to you, move quickly to secure your place.

Scroll down to find links to more information and/or contact UCOL direct.

In brief:

The Numbers:
• 100 Scholarships available across 5 rohe
• 7 Programmes to choose from
• 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time study available

APPLICATIONS CLOSE Friday 15 July 2022

Get more information here:

UCOL Business Scholarships promotion information and links

UCOL Business Scholarships FAQ sheet

Inland Revenue Update 5 May 2022

Update from IRD current as at 5 May 2022:

  • Delays in Response Times
  • COVID-19 Support Payment Reminder
  • Small Business Cashflow Scheme (SBCS) loan interest reminder and repayment notifications
  • Pre-population of property info in 31/03/2022 income tax returns ‐ IR833
  • 2022 End of year process – Individual income tax assessments

Scroll down to see more.

Delays in response times

  • Currently, we are in a high demand period mostly due to COVID-19 and priority is being given to Covid-19 Support Payment applications.
  • It is taking longer than usual to answer calls and respond to web messages. Please don’t send follow-up/reminder messages as this adds to the backlog that we are currently experiencing.
  • We appreciate your patience and are doing our best.

COVID-19 Support Payment reminder

  • COVID-19 Support Payment applications close today (5 May 2022).
  • Any draft COVID-19 Support Payment applications that have not been submitted will be deleted after this date.

Small Business Cashflow Scheme (SBCS) loan interest reminder and repayment notifications

  • For customers who took out the Small Business Cashflow Scheme (SBCS) loan when it first became available in May 2020, their 2-year interest-free period and subsequent repayment period is fast approaching.
  • Customers will receive an SMS or myIR web message reminder 7 days before their 2-year loan anniversary date. These start from 5 May 2022. Interest reminder letters and payment plans will be sent to tax agents/intermediaries if the mail redirect is on. Otherwise, these will be sent directly to you. These communications will publish to myIR or be sent by paper where there is no web logon.
  • Payment plans will be sent on their 2-year loan date via myIR, from 12 May 2022.
  • Customers can change their payment dates or amounts by contacting us in myIR prior to their first scheduled repayment to discuss options. Tax agents/intermediaries can do this on their clients’ behalf if they are linked. IR will make contact with the authorised borrower to confirm the arrangement amendments.

Pre-population of property info in 31/03/2022 income tax returns ‐ IR833

  • We recently made some changes to the IR833 Bright-line residential property sale information return attachment. This form will show in your return if we think you have a bright-line sale and will now pre-populate property information including title number, address, date of purchase and date of sale if you file in myIR or the income tax return gateway service in your software.
  • You can still manually add this form in myIR/software if you have a property sale that needs to be declared – you will just need to add the relevant property information manually.
  • You can now see a table of property sales in myIR for the sales we notify you about. You can advise us anytime during the year if the property is excluded from the bright-line rule.
  • Read more information on the exclusions here. 
  • Alternatively, you can continue to advise us with end of year filing by removing the pre-populated IR833 record from the return.
  • The table of property sales can be found on your Income tax account panel…>More…>My income section…>Manage bright-line property sales.
  • We will continue to notify you when we believe you have a sale that meets the bright-line rule, and the bright-line letter will redirect to tax agents where appropriate. On receiving this letter, you or your tax agent can let us know in myIR if the sale doesn’t fall within the bright-line rule, and we will update our records.

2022 End of year process – Individual income tax assessments

  • From the end of May through to the end of July we will be issuing automatic income tax assessments for most New Zealanders.
  • All individual clients of tax agents (excluding those with no reportable income and IR3 filers) will receive an ‘Income tax – more information request’ letter.
  • If your income tax mail is being redirected to your tax agent, they will receive this. Otherwise, it will go directly to you.
  • For more information on the end of year process click here.
  • To find out more about tax agents click here.

For questions and more information contact IRD directly.

Fair Pay Agreements …. or are they?

The New Zealand Chambers of Commerce are uniting in vocal opposition to the Government’s plan to introduce  “Fair Pay Agreements”.

Our initial feedback to Minister Wood include the following:

FPAs are a misnomer. They are inherently unfair to both employers and workers and signal an unnecessary and unwanted return to the past.

Our members cannot support this Bill which will empower a small percentage of a sector group to dictate the pay and conditions of the majority to the detriment of employers and workers.

We all accept the aspirations to do better for workers and to implement overdue reform in some sectors, but there are better ways, more acutely tuned to market realities, to reward and grow a skilled workforce that will take New Zealand into the future.

One size does not fit all and fails to recognise and reward productivity, skills and fit for the individual enterprise’s size, structure, location and resources.

Good employers are innovative in creating workplaces where wellbeing and fairness underpin their way of operating and are creating prosperous futures that value skills, adaptability, love of learning and productivity, beyond an hourly wage rate.

We have moved a long way from compulsory and combative them-and-us unions versus employers.

We, as business owners and leaders, will not be silent. We will fight for a better way to lift productivity, pay for excellence and innovation and grow skills to sustain our economy.

Compulsory Fair Pay Agreements are not the way to achieve the changes we need.

We would welcome working as partners with Government in finding the way forward to achieve a resilient business environment with a diverse, skilled, and productive workforce that is valued for the individual contribution they make.

Speak to us if you have questions or feedback: ce@whanganuichamber.net.nz

My Vaccine Pass Lift and Workplace Vaccine Mandates

Mandatory Vaccine Pass use and workplace vaccine mandates have now been lifted for the majority of businesses and we’re now free of them – good riddance you might say. But for employers is it really that simple?

We have gathered here links to information to help you consider how your business will operate from here.

What WorkSafe says:

•    New Zealand now has high vaccination rates and reduced risk of reinfection for those who have recently recovered from COVID-19.

•    Employer vaccination requirements need to be used carefully (based on public health advice) and are not a suitable first response for managing COVID-19 in most workplaces.

•    Employers should undertake a risk assessment to determine their level of risk and consider the extent to which other controls can manage that risk.

Find out more on the WorkSafe site here.

From Employment New Zealand:

•    If a business or workplace isn’t covered by a government vaccination mandate, an employer can determine what controls can be supported by a work health and safety risk assessment or in relation to third party access requirements. This may include requiring work be done only by vaccinated workers.

•    Employers must engage with workers and their representatives in good faith. This includes when they are developing, implementing, or reviewing an employer vaccination requirement or other COVID-19 controls.

They have a useful Q&A section tackling some of the meaty questions to help guide you, here is an example:

Can someone who lost their job due to a previous vaccination requirement get their job back?
If someone’s employment was terminated and this took effect while a government vaccination mandate or employer vaccination requirement was in place, that decision still stands. A former employee does not have a right to get their old job back, or any other role with their previous employer.

Find out more on the Employment New Zealand site here.

Note: these are official government sites. We encourage you to engage with specialist professional advisors wherever possible to help guide you.

Good Business: Are you short on Skilled Employees?

New Zealand is in desperate need of skilled employees.  If you have exhausted all means of upskilling, advertising, head-hunting and internal rearrangements of staff then you might want to consider looking for international skilled migrants to join your team.

The New Zealand borders are reopening for new work visa holders from July 2022.  The date to be confirmed.  This new work visa will be known as The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) and is a new temporary work visa that will replace the Essential Skills Work Visa and Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa when it launches on 4 July 2022.  Employers who want to hire migrants on an AEWV will need to be accredited and submit a job check for relevant roles before they can hire a migrant.

If you already hire migrant workers you will have to be compliant to retain your migrant workers from 4 July 2022.

AEWV implementation dates

The key dates to keep in mind are:

  • 23 May 2022– employers can apply for accreditation;
  • 20 June 2022– accredited employers can submit a job check; and
  • 4 July 2022– migrants can apply for an AEWV, where the employer is accredited, and a job check has been completed.

Migrant workers can still apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa until 3 July 2022. Employers do not need to apply for accreditation from 23 May 2022 unless they intend to hire migrants on an AEWV soon after 4 July 2022.

For most employers, accreditation will be a simple assessment and Immigration New Zealand (“INZ”) will work to process applications quickly.

Steps to hiring skilled migrants on the AEWV

1. Getting accredited

Your business will first need to gain accreditation.  This is a new type of accreditation and you will have to apply even if you have been accredited under the previous system.  There are different levels of accreditation depending on how many migrants you want to hire. You will need to meet standard requirements including showing you are a genuine, compliant business and commit to activities to settle migrants and minimise exploitation.

2. Passing the job check

Once accredited you need to apply for a job check for each job you want to hire migrant workers for.  You can only hire a migrant worker on an AEWV for a job if it has passed the job check. The job check confirms that the job pays the market rate, the terms and conditions comply with New Zealand employment laws and standards and you have done a labour market test if you need to.  If the job is paid at least 200% of the median wage you do not need to advertise the role.

3. Visa application

If the job passes the job check you can invite the migrant worker to apply for a visa.  INZ will check if they meet the requirements for the AEWV including that they have the skills and experience you advertised for.

The pathway to residence on this new work visa category will be introduced in the future for migrants who have held an AEWV for 2 years and are paid at least 200% of the median wage.

Median wage increase on 4 July 2022

The median wage will increase from $27.00 to $27.76 an hour on 4 July 2022, in line with when the AEWV opens to applications.

Important to note

If you already hire migrants and their visas will expire before you have completed the steps above, your migrant worker can apply for a bridging visa whilst you get you accreditation in order.  This bridging visa will be a Visitor visa only and will not allow them to work.

For more information contact Joamari van der Walt joamariv@horsleychristie.co.nz