Workplace Relations & Safety

Labour is committed to supporting workers by lifting wages, protecting them while they are at work, growing jobs, and investing in the economy. We’re securing our recovery from COVID-19 – and supporting our workers plays a key role in that.

Here are just a few ways we’re backing Kiwi workers:

Boosting wages

We believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. That’s why since 2017, we’ve boosted the minimum wage – bringing it to $21.20 per hour. We’ve passed the Equal Pay Amendment Bill to ensure people who perform work of the same value are paid the same and started addressing pay inequities in our education and health systems. We’re also implementing Fair Pay Agreements, to improve wages and conditions and support our economic recovery.

Restoring rights

We’re making sure workers get a fair deal by strengthening employment law. We’ve brought back meal and rest breaks, strengthened collective bargaining, restored protections for vulnerable workers, and limited 90-day trials to businesses with fewer than 20 employees. We’re committed to improving the Holidays Act to provide more certainty for employers and employees, and we’ve made changes to better protect migrants from exploitation.

Looking out for wellbeing

We’re keeping workers safe and supporting them to balance their work with other demands. We’ve extended paid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks, and we’ve doubled the minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days to make sure no one feels pressured to go to work when they’re unwell. We increased funding to modernise WorkSafe, and launched a new Navigation Service offering free, independent advice and advocacy for people making ACC claims. We’ve also committed to keeping the retirement age at 65.

Protecting jobs

Our strong COVID response has kept Kiwis safe while protecting jobs, allowing us to look ahead. The support from the Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Resurgence Support Payment helped cushion the impacts of COVID and allowed businesses to bounce back quickly. We created specific programmes to protect jobs in vulnerable sectors like sports, tourism, and the arts – which helped to deliver a record low unemployment rate. To help protect those who do experience job loss through no fault of their own, we’ve proposed an income insurance scheme that would support workers to retain about 80% of their income for a period after they lose their jobs.

  • We will implement a major support package to assist businesses in hiring at least 40,000 New Zealanders whose employment is impacted by COVID-19.
  • We will progressively extend Living Wage guarantees to contractors to the public sector – such as our cleaners, caterers, and security guards.
  • We will increase minimum sick leave entitlements from five days to ten days a year.
  • We will increase the minimum wage to $20 an hour in 2021.
  • We will make it easier for women to gain pay equity in their organisation or across their industry, by ensuring there are better records of pay equity across New Zealand, including by ethnicity and age as well as gender.
  • We will make it easier for workers to receive fair wages and conditions, and avoid the 'race to the bottom' that occurs within competitive industries by implementing Fair Pay Agreements.
  • We will strengthen and simplify the Holidays Act, and allow sick leave to be taken when needed.
  • We will protect vulnerable workers by legislating protections for dependent contractors and by recognising security guards as vulnerable workers to ensure their terms and conditions are protected.
  • We will raise the age for workers to be allowed to perform hazardous work, ensure all workers have the right to elect health and safety representatives, and ensure Seafarer Welfare Centres provide better services.

Find more information about our workplace relations policy here.