New Zealand Labour Party

Zero hour contracts are history

It took a year and a half, 56,500 signatures and a whole lot of campaigning, but we did it; we’ve put an end to zero hour contracts.

Today’s victory is a win for all those Kiwi workers required to be available for work but who have no work guaranteed.

National promised to get rid of zero hour contracts. It didn’t - it attempted to entrench them in law by making new rules for how to use them.

Talk about a red rag.

But together we've worked tirelessly to end those exploitative contracts. The campaign has involved tens of thousands of New Zealanders, signing petitions, writing letters and emails to the Minister, and industrial action by union members. Alongside that, there's been a lot of negotiating by our Parliamentary team.

Interestingly it wasn’t only Labour and the unions raising concerns – criticism even came from the business sector with Michael Barnett from the Auckland Chamber of Commerce saying the Government’s proposal ignored work-life balance, the needs of the family and protection for the most vulnerable.

United Future and the Maori Party were also convinced by our argument. The Government had no alternative but to back down. Today it has agreed to the changes we’ve demanded.

Those changes mean:

  • Employers can no longer demand that you be available all the time for work without providing guaranteed hours in your agreement.
  • The employer must have a good reason for requiring you to be available for work and reasonable compensation must be paid.
  • Employers will not be able to cancel shifts at the last minute without providing reasonable compensation. The notice period for cancellation of shifts must be reasonable and included in the employment agreement.
  • It is now much clearer in the law that having agreed hours in your employment agreement is expected.

Thanks for the role you've played in making sure that from today, zero hour contracts are history. 

Now we must look forward to our next fight. I'm chomping at the bit for it. Are you too? Say you're up for our next campaign by clicking here.