Changes to the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa The changes involve replacing the current settings with a points system that sets a skills threshold for residence. Applicants will qualify for points depending on their qualifications and income, and applicants must have a skilled job offered with an accredited employer. The changes took effect from 9 October 2023.  
 Employment Relations (Protection for KiwiSaver Members) Amendment Bill This Bill seeks to amend the Employment Relations Act 2000 and KiwiSaver Act 2006, in order to allow an employee to raise a personal grievance where:   
- their employer refuses or omits to offer the same terms and conditions of employment by reason of the employee’s KiwiSaver membership; and  
- the employee’s salary or wages are less than the salary or wages of other employees employed in the same (or substantially similar) circumstances, because their salary/wages include the compulsory contributions the employer is required to make.   
The Bill also proposes to prohibit employers taking a “total pay” approach to KiwiSaver, as is permitted by agreement under the KiwiSaver Act 2006. 
 The Bill was introduced on 8 June 2023 and is yet to have its first reading.  
 Fair Pay Agreements Amendment Regulations 2023 These regulations govern the format of the fair pay agreements and how some of the mandatory content of a fair pay agreement (e.g., minimum base wage rates, standard hours, overtime hours) must be specified in the agreement. These regulations came into force on 8 June 2023 and amend the Fair Pay Agreements Regulations 2022. 
 Emergency Management Bill The Bill provides that a person who is required to be absent from their usual employment by the Director or a Controller for emergency management duties is not liable for dismissal and is not required to be paid in respect of the absence. This Bill was introduced on 7 June 2023, and had its first reading on 28 June 2023. It has been referred to Select Committee. Select Committee submissions close on 3 November 2023. 
 Civil Aviation Act 2023 This Act replaces the Civil Aviation Act 1990 and the Airport  Authorities Act 1966. The Act introduces a new drug and alcohol  management system including the need for drug and alcohol management plans and comprehensive testing. The Act received Royal Assent on 5 April 2023 and will come into force on 5 April 2025. 
 Employment Relations (Extended Time for Personal Grievance for  Sexual Harassment) Amendment Act 2023 This Act extends the time available to raise a personal grievance  that involves allegations of sexual harassment from 90 days to 12  months in line with the Human Rights Act 1993. The Act received Royal Assent on 12 June  2023 and came into force on 13 June 2023. 
 Worker Protection (Migrant and Other Employees) Act This Act intends to deter employers from exploiting migrant   workers by amending the Immigration Act 2009, Employment  Relations Act 2000 and Companies Act 1993, including by giving  immigration officers and labour inspectors greater powers.  The Bill passed its third reading on 29  June 2023 and received Royal assent on 6  July 2023. The Bill will come into force six  months after receiving Royal assent. 
 Companies (Directors Duties) Amendment Bill This Bill seeks to amend the Companies Act 1993 to permit   directors, in acting as the mind and will of the company, to take  actions that take into account wider matters other than the financial bottom-line of the company. This may include matters  such as the principles of Te Tiriti, environmental impacts, good  corporate ethics, being a good employer, and the interests of the  wider community. The Bill passed its second reading on 7 June 2023 and is being considered by the committee of the whole House.  
 Accident Compensation (Access Reporting and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2023  This Act brings forward full-time employees’ eligibility for the minimum rate of weekly compensation from the sixth week of incapacity to the second week, and increases ACC’s reporting obligations in respect of Māori access to the ACC scheme.  The Act received Royal Assent on 6 June 2023. The majority of the Act came into force on 7 June 2023, except for the changes relating to bringing forward eligibility for the minimum full-time rate of weekly compensation from the sixth week of incapacity to the second week, which come into force on 7 September 2023.  
 Health and Safety at Work (Health and Safety Representatives and Committees) Amendment Act 2023 This Act amends the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to remove current thresholds limiting worker access to health and safety representatives and health and safety committees, and make it mandatory for an employer to establish them if requested by workers. The Act received royal assent on 12 June 2023 and came into force on 13 June 2023. 
 Human Rights (Incitement on Ground of Religious Belief) Amendment Bill This Bill seeks to improve the protection of faith-based groups against speech that is likely to incite hostility, by extending the coverage of civil and criminal provisions. Prime Minister Hipkins has confirmed that this Bill will be withdrawn and referred to the Law Commission for guidance. 
 Employment Relations (Restraint of Trade) Amendment Bill This Bill seeks to amend the law on restraint of trade clauses, including by prohibiting restraints of trade for low and middle income employees, requiring employers of higher income employees subject to a restraint of trade to compensate for the restraint, and to cap all restraints at 6 months in duration. This Bill was introduced on 22 September 2022. 
 Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Shared Leave) Amendment Bill This Bill allows for paid parental leave to be split between spouses or partners who are carers of the child and allow them to take the leave at the same time, provided the total paid parental leave does not exceed the maximum provided for a single primary carer.  This Bill was introduced on 8 December 2022. 
 Crime (Theft by Employer) Amendment Bill This Bill seeks to amend the Crimes Act 1961 to provide that an employer’s intentional failure to pay an employee their wages, salary, or other monetary entitlements amounts to theft. If an employer is found guilty, they could be liable for a fine or imprisonment (if they are an individual). The Bill was introduced on 6 April 2023. 
 Holidays Act Taskforce Final Report October 2019 On 23 February 2021, the Government announced that it had accepted and would be implementing all of the recommendations of the Holidays Act Taskforce in its October 2019 Final Report. The recommended changes are still being drafted into a Bill. The Government has stated that it planned to introduce legislation by mid-2023, but we are yet to see this.  
 Better Protection of Contractors Following the close of public consultation in early 2020, in April 2022, the Tripartite Working Group on Better Protections for Contractors released its report for the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, which (among other things) calls for a revised definition of “employee” which includes a distinction compared to someone who is genuinely in business on his or her own account. The next step is for the Government to develop and consult on a policy proposal, however that work is on pause pending the outcome of Uber’s appeal of the latest Uber status decision. This was part of the package of delays announced by Prime Minister Hipkins as part of his policy “cull”. 
 Use of Biometric Information in New Zealand The Privacy Commissioner sought public submissions on whether further regulations are necessary in respect of the use of biometric information in New Zealand, such as verifying people’s identities online, border control, security, and policing and law enforcement. Following consideration of public submissions, the Privacy Commissioner is now considering whether to introduce a Code of Practice to regulate biometrics. The final date for feedback on this consultation is 27 August 2023. 
 Pay Transparency The Government has announced it will investigate whether a full pay transparency regime in New Zealand would be beneficial, and accepted a number of recommendations set out in a report released by the Education and Workforce Committee in principle, including whether it should be compulsory to publish starting salaries when advertising a job and restricting confidentiality provisions with respect to pay secrecy.  The Government has asked the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) to advise on policy recommendations, but there is no timeline for when new legislation could be introduced yet.  
 Modern Slavery and Worker Exploitation The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a discussion document proposing legislation to respond to modern slavery and worker exploitation in operations and supply chains (OASCs) through a series of reporting and due diligence requirements. The legislation proposed would have a cascading set of obligations for entities, based on the size of the entity. Public submissions are currently being considered by MBIE for a report to the Government on proposed legislation. 

This article has been adapted from LHB's table in Trial Balance, the official newsletter of NZ CA.