CONVENTION 122 NEW ZEALAND
Article 22 of the Constitution of the ILO
Report for the period 1 July 2006 to 31 May 2008
made by the Government of New Zealand on the
EMPLOYMENT POLICY CONVENTION, 1964 (No. 122)
- Please give a list of the legislation and administrative regulations, etc., which apply the provisions of the Convention. Where this has not already been done, please forward copies of the said legislation, etc., to the International Labour Organisation with this report.
Please give any available information concerning the extent to which these laws and regulations have been enacted or modified to permit of, or as a result of, ratification.
Please see the Government’s previous report on Convention 122 for a full list of legislation that applies the provisions of the Convention.
The following legislation relevant to the Convention was passed during the reporting period:
- Employment Relations Amendment Act 2006
- Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act 2007
- Minimum Wage (New Entrants) Amendment Act 2007
Disabled Persons Employment Promotion Repeal Act 2007
- Amendments to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987
Online versions of this legislation are available at http://www.legislation.govt.nz.
The changes brought about by the legislation passed during the reporting period have been described in the Government’s report on Convention 100.
- Please indicate in detail for each of the following Articles of the Convention the provisions of the above-mentioned legislation and administrative regulations., etc. or other measures under which each article is applied.
If the Committee of Experts or the Conference Committee on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations has requested additional information or has made an observation on the measures adopted to apply the Convention, please supply the information asked for or indicate the action taken by your Government to settle the points in question.
- With a view to stimulating economic growth and development, raising levels of living, meeting manpower requirements and overcoming unemployment and underemployment, each Member shall declare and pursue, as a major goal, an active policy designed to promote full, productive and freely chosen employment.
- The said policy shall aim at ensuring that-
- there is work for all who are available for and seeking work;
- such work is as productive as possible;
- there is freedom of choice of employment and the fullest possible opportunity for each worker to qualify for, and to use his skills and endowments in, a job for which he is well suited, irrespective of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin.
- The said policy shall take due account of the stage and level of economic development and the mutual relationships between employment objectives and other economic and social objectives, and shall be pursued by methods that are appropriate to national conditions and practices.
Please indicate how the active policy designed to promote full, productive and freely chosen employment has been declared in your country. Please indicate, in particular, on what occasions this policy was introduced and specify the texts by which it was defined.
Given that the current conditions in New Zealand’s labour market are very positive with unemployment at a record low (3.4 percent), and participation at record high (68.8%), employment growth is limited more by the availability of workers, than the availability of jobs. The strong labour market has however created new challenges, notably in terms of constraints to economic growth from skill and labour shortages. There are population groups that have relatively low labour force participation, and policy attention is directed toward providing more labour market opportunities and raising skill levels through education and training. A central policy concern in New Zealand is to ensure that the policy mix encourages labour force participation, but not to the detriment of people’s other activities such as caring responsibilities. Increasingly there has been a focus on labour productivity and producing more value from work.
Better Work, Working Better
The Government’s overarching Labour Market and Employment Strategy “Better Work, Working Better” (BWWB) was outlined in the previous report (for the period to 31 May 2006) and remains current.
Unified Skills Strategy
The New Zealand Government agreed in December 2007 to the ongoing development of a Unified Skills Strategy (Skills Strategy). The Skills Strategy is key to the Government’s economic transformation goal, providing an opportunity to:
- focus the skills debate around the link between skills and productivity and provide stakeholders with a framework for understanding what is being done, why it is important and how it relates to stakeholders’ interests;
- bring together and coordinate the range of government initiatives aimed at improving skills development and skills utilisation; and matching supply and demand;
- better understanding where more needs to be done.
The core focus of the Skills Strategy is on lifting productivity through skills development and deployment of the existing workforce, to make better use of the skills we have to transform work and workplaces. The Skills Strategy recognises that with ongoing skill shortages and a tight labour market, a key driver for productivity growth and economic transformation is building firm and worker capability to increase skills development and utilisation. To achieve this there is a need to think about skills in a more strategic context and coordinate work across government.
The purpose statement of the Skills Strategy is:
The Skills Strategy will deliver a unified approach to ensure New Zealand individuals and organisations are able to develop and use the skills needed in the workplaces of the future.
The goals of the strategy reflect how we use and retain skills in the workplace, increase the quality of demand and influence the supply of those skills, and how we value and measure skills in New Zealand. The goals are:
- Goal 1: The effective utilisation and retention of skills to transform work and workplaces;
- Goal 2: An increase in the quality of demand from employers and workers;
- Goal 3: To better influence the supply of skills and create a more responsive education and training system;
- Goal 4: A unified approach to defining, valuing and measuring skills.
Major streams of work are already being undertaken across government and stakeholder networks to meet these goals, including:
- increasing the literacy, language and numeracy skills of the workforce;
- building firm capability to support managers and workers to better develop and utilise skills;
- enhancing the relationship between the supply of skills, and the demand for them, including building on the tertiary reforms to improve responsiveness;
- measurement of skill acquisition and retention to better understand how well we are doing;
- understanding of financial investment in skills – producing a greater acceptance of the impact and value for money of investment; and
- increasing the skills of young people, to enhance the learning opportunities and support mechanisms for young people in work, in the transition to work, and in the tertiary education and training system.
The Skills Strategy will have actions that have immediate impact as well as longer-term actions through to 2020 and beyond. It will be responsive to the flow of workers into the New Zealand workforce, in particular young workers (aged 15-19 years), and connect with and contribute to the delivery of other core areas of government activity relating to skills.
It is based on a collaboration and commitment to social partnership through the active engagement of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and Business New Zealand, government agencies and other stakeholders.
Literacy, Language and Numeracy Strategy
The Literacy, Language and Numeracy Strategy is to be launched in 2008. Around 800,000 of the estimated 1.1 million New Zealanders with low literacy skills are in work or unemployed. The strategy aims to respond to this challenge by progressively lifting literacy, language and numeracy skills of the workforce. People with better literacy, language and numeracy skills are more likely to be employed and to earn more than those with poorer literacy, language and numeracy skills. Business gains from improvements in these skills will be sustained.
The Strategy reinforces the New Zealand Government’s ongoing commitment to adult literacy, language and numeracy. A priority outcome of the Tertiary Education Strategy 2007-12 is to increase literacy, language and numeracy levels of the workforce. The Strategy builds on recent investments including in provider capability and the research based Upskilling Partnership Programme that is designed to engage employers and workers in training programmes that include literacy, language and numeracy.
Working New Zealand: Work Focussed Support
The Working New Zealand: Work Focussed Support package has been developed to build on the Working for Families package and the new service approach. Through Working New Zealand, a range of services has been expanded and developed to help support people to gain, retain or resume sustainable employment. Working New Zealand focuses on people’s individual needs regardless of what type of financial support they are entitled to and Work and Income case managers work with people to prepare for a return to work as their circumstances allow. Working New Zealand introduced three service types which offer people services based on their ability to work, rather than their benefit type.
The Work Support service is for people who are work ready or want to work now. This group is predominantly made up of clients in receipt of the Unemployment Benefit. However, any client who wants to work now, irrespective of their benefit type, can request to be included in this service.
The Work Development Support service is for people who may be able to work in the future with the right support, in the right job. These clients will be supported through the intensive case management model, actively planning for their return to work, and undertaking agreed steps as, and when, they can.
The Community Support service is for people who should not reasonably be expected to plan a return to work in the foreseeable future. This may be because of very severe ill health or disability or because they are caring for someone who would otherwise require a full-time high level of care. These people will continue to receive financial support whilst linking them to regionally available support services.
The Working New Zealand package included amendments to legislation and regulation to widen the availability of support and services to all working-age recipients of benefits, and to align a number of rules across different benefit types.
In addition specialist advisors and employment co-ordinators are available to provide support and services for people with ill health and disabilities. The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is also working closely with other agencies involved in the provision of disability and social support services to provide additional health and disability services. Over time it is anticipated that MSD will build up its knowledge of the range of health and disability services that are most effective in helping people with ill-health or disabilities move into and stay in work.
Working for Families
In June 2001 the Government began reforming the social assistance system from passive provision of entitlements to a modern active system supporting moves towards sustainable employment and other goals.
Building on a series of progressive improvements to the social security system, the Working for Families package was announced in the 2004 Budget and rolled out over the following 3 years. It was designed to:
- ensure families have an adequate income;
- make work pay; and
- achieve a social assistance system that supports people into work.
Working for Families combines substantial changes to in-work incentives and out-of-work assistance to families. Working for Families made changes to the system of tax credits available for families with children, assistance with housing costs and childcare assistance.
A key focus of the package was on making work pay for families with children. The package sought to achieve this by:
- introducing a new in-work tax credit to increase explicitly and visibly help work pay, encouraging low income working families with dependent children to move into and stay in work;
- changes to childcare assistance which helped to reduce the costs of childcare which can act as a barrier to employment; and
- improving effective marginal tax rates for low income working families.
The package was estimated to cost $1.6 billion a year in 2007, and 371,300 families qualified for entitlements in the 2007 tax year.
A new service approach
In May 2006, the first elements of a new service approach were introduced in all Work and Income service and contact centres. New clients are now case managed differently to improve the focus on getting them into work. The starting point is what a person can do, rather than what benefit they are entitled to receive.
Traditionally Work and Income offered services and programmes on the basis of benefit type and duration on benefit. This meant employment assistance was generally available only to clients in receipt of an unemployment-related benefit, and often only after they had been in receipt of benefit for a specified period. Work and Income now recognises that many clients want to work and with the right support and services, are able to work.
The key areas of focus of the new approach are:
- talking about work with clients right from the initial contact, regardless of the type of benefit they are applying for;
- completing a pre-assessment of a client’s circumstances, needs and work readiness;
- providing employment programmes and services to clients earlier, and based on their individual circumstances and needs; and
- matching clients with other services and agencies to address other issues that impact on their ability to work.
Domestic Purposes, Sickness and Invalid’s Benefit clients were expected to benefit most from the service enhancements. These clients now have:
- employment as an option from initial contact;
- access to information and the ability to apply for local job opportunities through Work and Income;
- support in preparing to return to work if they are not able to return to work immediately; and
- access to employment services that will enhance their ability to obtain a job where it is clear that the client is at risk of not obtaining work without assistance.
Please supply information on the situation, level and trends of employment, unemployment and underemployment in your country, both in the aggregate and as they affect particular categories of workers such as women, young persons, older workers and disabled workers.
The New Zealand Economy and Labour Market 2006-20081
Labour market outcomes are critical for New Zealand, socially and economically. New Zealand’s labour market is tighter than ever before. With low unemployment and high labour force participation, the key challenge currently faced by New Zealand’s labour market is the potential for shortages of labour and skill. It is expected that labour market conditions will continue to remain tight over 2008. The unemployment rate as at December 2007 was 3.4%, the lowest rate ever recorded in the Household Labour Force Survey’s (HLFS) 21 year history. It has now been below 4% for three and a half years and the historically low levels of unemployment are forecast to continue. This means that the number of people available and actively seeking work, whom employers can easily hire, is very limited at present.
The Labour Force
The labour force participation rate of 68.8 percent recorded in the December 2007 quarter is the highest rate recorded in the history of the HLFS. The December 2007 quarter rise in the labour force occurred despite a continuing fall in the net inflow of permanent/long term migrants.
Employment increased by 23,000 (1.1 percent) in the December 2007 quarter following a 0.3 percent fall in the September 2007 quarter. Employment now stands at a record high of 2,173,000, and a record high proportion of working-age people (66.4 percent) are now in work. The strong quarterly result helped lift annual employment growth to 2.5 percent in the year to December 2007, up from 1.6 percent in the year to September 2007 and the highest figure since the year to June 2006.
Women’s Labour Market Outcomes
Labour market conditions in New Zealand continue to be generally favourable for female workers. Robust economic growth and increased flexibility in the labour market over the past five years have seen an increase in the number of women in work, fewer unemployed women and fewer women outside the labour force. Over the same period average wages for women have risen in real terms.
In the five years to December 2007, women’s employment grew by 14.3 percent or 2.7 percent per year, which is higher than men’s employment growth of 11.9 percent or 2.4 percent.
The women’s labour force participation rate increased from 61.5 percent in the year to December 2006 to 61.9 percent in the year to December 2007.
Women’s labour force participation rates are markedly lower than men’s rates for those aged 25-39 as women are more likely not to be in the labour force as they are caring for children. Women’s labour market participation rates increase considerably after age 40.
Youth Labour Market Outcomes
Labour market outcomes for youth have in general been positive over the past five years. In particular, more young people are in employment than five years ago, the number of 18-19 year old receiving the Unemployment Benefit has dropped dramatically and average wages are higher.
Youth employment for the year to June 2007 grew by 1.4 percent, slightly slower than the 1.5 percent recorded for all ages. In contrast, over the last five years employment growth of 2.9 percent per annum for those aged 15-24 was higher than the 2.5 percent recorded for all ages2.
Older Worker’s Labour Market Outcomes
Labour market outcomes for older workers (defined as those 55 and over) have notably improved since 1999. The labour force participation rate for older workers rose from 40.4 per cent in the year to December 2006, to 41.8 per cent in the year to December 2007. In the year to December 1999, only 30.2 percent of those 55 and over were in the labour force.
Of the older workers in the labour force, 98.6 percent are employed. There has been considerable employment growth for older workers, averaging 7.5 percent per annum since 1999 and 6.9 percent for the year to December 2007. These growth rates are well above the national averages of 2.4 percent for the year to December 1999 and 1.6 percent in the year to December 2007. The dramatic increase in employment of older workers has accounted for 44 percent of the total increase in employment since December 1999.
The unemployment rate for older workers was only 1.4 percent in the year to December 2007, below the national average of 3.6 per cent. Unemployment rates have declined 2 percent since the year to December 2006 and 4.5 percent from December 1999.
The number of underemployed people (those employed part-time who would like to work more hours) may serve as one measure of under utilisation of labour in the economy. There were 489,700 people employed part-time in the survey series in the December 2007 quarter, 18.0 percent of whom (88,000 people) indicated a preference to work more hours. This compares with 15.7 percent for the December 2007 quarter, and 21.1 percent for the December 2006 quarter.
In the December 2007 quarter, 24.8 percent of men employed part-time indicated a preference to work more hours compared with 15.4 percent of women employed part-time who indicated the same preference.
Please describe the principal policies pursued and measures taken with a view to ensuring that there is work for all who are available for and seeking work, with particular reference to the following matters, in so far as they are relevant to conditions in your country:
- Over-all and sectoral development policies:
Measures in such fields as investment policy ; fiscal and monetary policies ; trade policy ; prices, incomes and wages policies.
Policies and measures concerning balanced regional development, development of the infrastructure, rural development with reference both to agriculture and non-agricultural activities, and industrial development.
The Economic Transformation Agenda
In March 2006 the Government agreed that economic transformation would be one of the Government's three priorities for the next decade. This direction builds on the Government's Growth and Innovation Framework (GIF). GIF provided a framework for lifting New Zealand's innovation and economic performance.
The Economic Transformation Agenda sets out the Government’s commitment to lifting per capita incomes through a heightened focus on innovation, infrastructure, international linkages, capital markets, and raising productivity in an environmentally sustainable way. It is intended to enable New Zealand to be well-placed to capture commercial opportunities around the growing world-wide interest in environmental sustainability and to position New Zealand to take advantage of an increasingly integrated global economy.
It identifies five key areas or integrated themes that will be the focus of the Government's strategic direction:
- globally competitive firms;
- world class infrastructure;
- innovative and productive workplaces - underpinned by high standards in education, skills and research;
- environmental sustainability; and
- Auckland - an internationally competitive city.
Refreshing Regional Policy
Considerable progress has been made since the last report to promote the integration of employment, skills and economic development policies at the national and regional level. Labour market conditions are important in determining policy integration approaches. In particular, emerging skill shortages in the last seven years significantly boosted national and regional efforts to integrate skills and vocational training policies with labour market policies through, for example, incorporation of regional skills strategies.
The Government announced in 2006 its intentions to refresh regional policy. The changes include the Government's adoption of the Economic Transformation Agenda, a stronger focus on international connections, higher levels of employment in all the regions, and the reform of the Local Government Act 2002 which introduced the Long-term Council Community Plan process into regional planning. The details of the new regional policy were released on 4 April 2007.
Strength in the national labour market is reflected in improved performance across all regions especially those where the labour market has traditionally been weakest. Stronger regional labour market performance has been accompanied by a reduction in the disparities between regions' labour market performance. In the past five years, regions with weaker labour markets have improved more than those with strong labour markets.
Government Urban and Economic Development Office
The Government Urban and Economic Development Office (GUEDO) is a cross-government initiative led by the Ministry of Economic Development to improve the focus on Auckland-related policy development.
The Auckland region represents over a third of the economy, has one third of the population, a third of New Zealand businesses, and contributes a third of the gross domestic product.
The Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry for the Environment, Department of Labour, and the Ministry of Transport work across-government to focus on sustainable and economic development issues of relevance to Auckland.
Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Policy
The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) temporary work policy was introduced in October 2006. It was developed in close consultation with Pacific governments, New Zealand employers and unions. It is designed to support the sustainable transformation of key export industries and provide durable benefits to the Pacific.
The horticulture and viticulture industries are important to New Zealand and can be affected by seasonal staff shortages. RSE policy facilitates the temporary entry of foreign workers to plant, maintain, harvest and pack crops in the horticulture and viticulture industries, to meet these labour shortages in order for these industries to remain competitive. Pacific workers, in turn, can be sure that their own governments, the New Zealand Government and their New Zealand employer will all take an active interest in promoting their interests and welfare.
The RSE Work Policy is initially capped at 5,000 places per year. The number of available places can be adjusted, depending on the number of New Zealanders available and industry demand. Workers under the RSE Work Policy may return to work in New Zealand in subsequent seasons provided they have a continued job offer, seasonal shortages are ongoing, and they have not previously breached the conditions of their RSE work permit conditions.
Regional Labour Market Intelligence
The Department of Labour’s regional labour market work has resulted in publication of the twelve regional labour market reports. These will improve knowledge of the regional labour markets among strategy and policy makers, labour market participants and other stakeholders. These regional reports bring together a wide range of labour market information produced on a quarterly, annual and five-yearly basis to describe in detail the characteristics of the regional labour markets, the changes they have undergone and some key outcomes of these changes.
The reports combine both quantitative and qualitative market information. The data comes mainly from Population Census 2006, with some additional data from Statistics New Zealand surveys and additional information from the Department of Labour. The reports are available on the Department’s website:
- Labour market policies:
Measures to ensure the matching of labour supply and demand, on both an occupational and geographical basis, including measures for the adjustment of labour to structural change resulting from, for example, changes in international trade or technology.
Please refer to the previous report that outlined the measures in place for matching of labour supply and demand.
Measures to meet the needs of particular categories of workers such as: women, young people, older workers, and disabled workers.
Measures to meet the needs of women
The Equal Pay Act 1972 and the Government Services Equal Pay Act 1960 continue as the legislative basis for equal pay.
Please refer to the response provided below for more detailed information on Choices for Living, Caring, and Working: a ten-year plan to improve the caring and employment choices available to parents and carers.
Paid Parental Leave
As noted in the previous report, amendments to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 came into effect from 1 July 2006. Self-employed parents are eligible for 14 weeks paid parental leave, bringing greater flexibility and equity to the workplace and additional support for working parents. Both employees and the self-employed are now eligible for a subsequent period of paid parental leave if their expected date of delivery or adoption is at least six months after they return to work from previous leave.
A 2005/06 evaluation of the parental leave scheme by the Department of Labour found considerable support for paid parental leave (PPL) with a 80% take-up rate by eligible employed mothers; most mothers returning to the same employer following parental leave; and employers often accommodating part-time and flexible work arrangements for mothers on their return to paid work. Parents, however, are not using the full entitlement of leave available and want to take leave for twice as long as they actually do; fathers are not using the unpaid partner/paternity leave; some workers are not eligible, especially seasonal and casual workers; and employers find it difficult to manage work flows whilst staff are on leave.
Minimum wage increase
From 1 April 2008 the minimum wage for employees aged 16 years and over rose to $12.00 an hour before tax, except for new entrants and employees subject to the minimum training wage. This increase is expected to benefit around 102,400 adult workers, most of whom are women. There are many benefits to women from increasing the minimum wage, especially given that a higher proportion of adult women are on lower incomes than adult men. Work-life balance benefits and better conditions for women in precarious employment are also considered to be positive outcomes of increasing the minimum wage.
Pay and Employment Equity Plan
In 2004, as detailed in the previous report, the Government made a commitment to a five year Pay and Employment Equity Plan of Action. The outcome sought by the Plan of Action is that remuneration, job choice and job opportunities are not affected by gender. The Plan is based on a partnership approach between employers and unions. Phase one of the Plan includes the Public Service, public health and public education sectors.
Pay and employment equity reviews and the development of response plans are on track for completion in the Public Service, public health and the public school sector by June 2008. Planning for reviews in tertiary education institutions is underway and kindergartens are to commence their reviews this year.
To date, two pay investigations of women-dominated occupational groups have been agreed. Pay investigations are systematic enquiries into all factors affecting remuneration of women-dominated occupations. They explore whether there is historic or current under-valuation of those occupations.
A pay investigation may be recommended in a pay and employment equity response plan or initiated in bargaining. Government has agreed to processes for the managing and prioritising of subsequent remedial pay settlements.
In May 2007, the Government extended the Plan of Action to Phase two which includes Crown entities and local government organisations on a government-led, encouragement-based approach. Government decisions regarding extending the Plan of Action to Phase three organisations, the private sector, will be made following a progress report to Cabinet in 2010.
In November 2007, the Government decided to extend the pay and employment equity policy to cover employees whose work is funded by government through outsourced contracts that provide services which District Health Boards have an operational obligation to provide. Government will consider options for extending that policy to the public education sector, the Public Service and the rest of the public health sector, following a report to Cabinet in December 2009.
National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women
The National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) is an advisory body which provides advice to the Minister of Labour on matters related to the employment of women. Key work NACEW has completed during the reporting period includes:
- developing and distributing a three-series brochure “if you could be anything…what will it be?” to promote awareness of and increase participation in self employment for Maori and Pacific women;
- developing an online tool aimed at Human Resources practitioners to support wider engagement on the economic and business benefits of improving pay and employment equity in the private sector;
- providing advice to the Minister of Labour on priority improvements to the Parental Leave Scheme, and advice on providing financial support to family members who are caring for people experiencing ill-health, disability, mental illness or addiction, or frailty in their old age.
Measures to meet the needs of parents and people with other caring responsibilities
Choices for Living, Caring and Working
The proposals for Enhancing Parents’ and Other Carers’ Choices referred to in the previous report were renamed as Choices for Living, Caring and Working: A ten-year plan to improve the caring and employment choices available to parents and carers (Choices) in 2006. The goals of the Choices plan are to:
- achieve quality outcomes for children, families and others who require care;
- achieve greater fairness in opportunities for men and women to participate in high quality work;
- enable people to balance their work and other aspects of their lives;
- increase productivity and economic growth.
The Choices Plan of Action aims at increasing the range of choices open to people so that they can optimise the way they balance work, care, and other aspects of their lives. It is available at: www.dol.govt.nz/publications/general/gen-choices-for-living-full.asp.
The Plan of Action takes a life-cycle approach and has five areas of activity that follow the changing nature of people’s caring responsibilities. They are:
- The first year of life - this is about supporting parents who wish to care for their children in their first year of life, while taking a break from paid work.
- Children under five - the Choices Plan of Action is working towards ensuring families with children under five can access and participate in high quality, affordable early childhood education.
- School-age children - ensuring families with school-age children have better access to quality, affordable, and age-appropriate out-of-school services is a key part of the Choices plan.
- Caring for adults - one in five New Zealanders are caring for adults of all ages, including older people, those with ill health and those with a disability. The Choices plan is working towards improving the choices available to these carers, with a Carers Strategy to improve support available for carers being issued in April 2008.
- Workplaces - Choices is encouraging quality flexible work practices that help employees to balance their family, working and personal lives. They also benefit employers by increasing the pool of potential employees, helping retain skilled staff, and building loyalty and commitment.
The Choices plan has an ongoing commitment to research, monitoring and evaluation to ensure the plan is effective over the next ten years.
Progress has been made in relation to:
- the introduction of 20 hours a week of free Early Childhood Education (ECE), which has increased the affordability of ECE for many parents of 3 and 4 year olds;
- the Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act 2007, which will come into force on 1 July 2008;
- the launch of the Five-Year Action Plan for Out-of-School Services (OSS). Within the plan there are two initiatives that will have an immediate impact. These include the establishment of activity based out-of-school programmes (Extended Services), four of which will begin operating in 2008, and the increase in the provider funding pool, which is expected to increase the supply of services available.
The focus for the 2008 Choices Work Plan is on developing policy to support men in caring and parenting roles, and the various transitions between and within work, training, education and caring by people with caring responsibilities.
New Zealand Carers’ Strategy and Five Year Action Plan
The New Zealand Carers’ Strategy and Five-year Action Plan was introduced in April 2008. The Strategy was developed through a partnership between the Ministry of Social Development and the New Zealand Carers Alliance. The New Zealand Carers Alliance is a network of 45 national non-government organisations (NGOs) which represents carers throughout the country. The Carers’ Strategy represents a whole of government approach in collaboration with carers themselves, to recognise and support informal carers.
There are two types of carers, those who are in the formal paid workforce and those who are family, whānau or aiga3 members and friends providing informal care for someone that they are close to who, because of ill health, disability, mental illness, addiction or old age, cannot manage the tasks involved in everyday living without help and support. The Carers Strategy focuses on these informal carers.
The New Zealand Carers’ Strategy recognises the valuable contribution that informal carers make to New Zealand society and supports them in their caring role. There are a number of other factors that contribute to the need for a Carers’ Strategy. These include:
- New Zealand’s ageing population with more older people needing support (by the late 2020s it is estimated that the number of New Zealanders aged 65 years and over will exceed one million);
- advances in medicine resulting in earlier diagnosis of complex impairments, for example autism, and higher survival rates for younger people with high support needs;
- the contribution that informal carers could make to the general economy if they were better able to combine their caring responsibilities with their paid work, or were better supported to move into employment should they wish to do so.
This Strategy, designed specifically to address the needs of carers, also meets Objective 15 of the New Zealand Disability Strategy, which is “to value families, whānau and people providing support”.
Key actions in the initial Five-year action plan include:
- scoping a national specialist carer centre that will help carers receive information advice and support
- developing a wellbeing and learning programme for informal carers to help them learn about caring
- increasing the flexibility and reliability of respite care for informal carers
- developing a proposal for a carers allowance.
Measures to meet the needs of young people
The Government announced “Schools Plus” in January 2008. Subject to legislative change, Schools Plus will lift the age of participation in school and other forms of education or training to eighteen years and represents a significant change in the role of schools. A major focus of ‘School Plus’ will be on increasing the retention and achievement of young people in schools. Young people will be able to enter the workforce so long as they continue to participate in suitable education and training as well. The requirement for young people of 17-18 years of age to be attached to formal education or relevant workplace training will be phased in.
This change has particular relevance for the retail and hospitality sectors which employ around half of this age group currently in the workforce. Employers are likely to have a major role to play in offering practical work experience and training opportunities to young people still attached to schools. Schools Plus will require strong partnerships between schools, employers, tertiary institutions and communities.
Mayors Taskforce for Jobs
In response to concerns about the increased number of young people on an Unemployment Benefit in the 1990s (in 2002 there were 11,000 18 to 19 year olds receiving an Unemployment Benefit) the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs and the Government committed to a shared goal that "by 2007, all 15- to 19-year-olds will be engaged in appropriate education, training, work, or other activities which will lead to long-term economic independence and wellbeing".
The agreed focus in relation to the shared goal has recently been on the number of young people receiving an Unemployment Benefit for extended periods of time, and ensuring that young people in this situation are actively engaged in activities that will lead to their long-term economic independence and wellbeing.
There were fewer than 300 young people aged 18-19 years receiving an Unemployment Benefit for longer than 13 weeks on 7 December 2007. Further, all young people in this group are engaged in agreed activities and being intensively case managed.
Youth Transition Service
There are currently 15 Youth Transition Service sites in New Zealand, covering 26 Territorial Local Authorities. The services are available to over 20,000 school leavers aged 15-19. Since July 2006, the services have linked over 4,400 young people back into education, training or employment.
Each Youth Transition Service delivers against the following four core functions:
- follow-up school leavers aged 15-19 and identify where they are transitioning to. Offer customised support if the young person has not identified a ‘next step’;
- engage with the young people who are at risk of prolonged disengagement from work, education or training and provide them with customised support and guidance to facilitate their re-engagement into appropriate work, education or training;
- identify and support the development of appropriate labour market, education and training opportunities for young people; and
- provide a forum for strategic planning and co-ordination of services for young people.
Measures to meet the needs of older people
The Positive Ageing Strategy
The Positive Ageing Strategy was launched by the Minister for Senior Citizens on 10 April 2001. The Strategy provides a vision for positive ageing in New Zealand and establishes ten goals for government action.
Progress towards the achievement of the Positive Ageing Strategy goals and key actions is undertaken and reported against each year as part of the annual Positive Ageing Strategy Action Plan and Positive Ageing Strategy Report. This work is coordinated by the Office for Senior Citizens.
Goal 9 of the Positive Ageing Strategy focuses on “elimination of ageism and promotion of flexible work options”. The Positive Ageing Strategy Report outlines a number of initiatives for older workers recently completed by government departments to meet this goal. As part of its work on removing barriers and enhancing choices for people wishing to participate in the labour market, the Department of Labour identified a large number of people aged 45 years or more who were not in paid work. Research suggests that the ability of people aged 45 years or more to participate in the labour market could be supported by raising awareness of the benefits of participation, and by providing targeted career information, advice and guidance (CIAG). Findings are being used to inform further policy development.
Over the past two years the Government has also continued to implement broader policies to encourage and support older people to work, including:
- From 24 September 2007, the age based exemptions from the work test were removed. This means that unless special circumstances apply, people aged over 60 years on the Unemployment Benefit and partners of beneficiaries aged 55 years and over are now expected to be available to work, to take reasonable steps to obtain employment and to accept any offer of suitable employment.
- These changes are based on the presumption that most people want to work rather than assuming that groups of people – including older people – cannot work. The changes will help to ensure that older people get the benefits – both social and economic – that participation in work offers. This can be particularly important for people nearing retirement. Full or part-time work opportunities during this period will enable older people to continue to earn an income during these years rather than needing to draw down on their assets.
- Work and Income case managers are working actively with affected clients – to help them plan for work, assist with job searches and address training needs – and with employers to ensure that work opportunities are available.
Measures to meet the needs of workers with disabilities
New Zealand signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 30 March 2007. The next step now is for New Zealand to consider ratification of this Convention.
The New Zealand Disability Strategy presents a long-term plan for changing New Zealand from a disabling to an inclusive society. It was developed in consultation with disabled people and the wider disability sector, and reflects many individuals’ experiences of disability.
Progress has been made. For example, in 2006 New Zealand Sign Language was adopted as our third official language. A public awareness campaign, Like Minds, Like Mine, is aimed at reducing discrimination against people who experience mental illness. In 2006, the last residential institution for people with a learning disability was closed resulting in all people with a learning disability living and being supported in the community.
- Educational and training policies:
Policies with regard to vocational training, retraining and further training; and measures to co-ordinate education and training policies with prospective employment opportunities.
Tertiary Education Reforms
The objective of these recent reforms is to match the skills needs of business and other stakeholders, with economic and social development priorities. The aim is to improve the fit of skills that are delivered through the tertiary education sector so that they are more suited to the needs of firms, now and into the future.
As the major funder of tertiary education in New Zealand, the Government sets the priorities that it wants to achievethrough the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES) and Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities4. The four key priorities in the TES for the period from 2008 to 2010 are:
- increasing educational success for young New Zealanders, with more achieving qualifications at level 4 and above by age 25;
- improving research connections and linkages to create economic opportunities;
- increasing the achievement of advanced trade, technical and professional qualifications to meet regional and national industry needs; and
- increasing literacy, numeracy and language levels in the workforce.
Industry Training System and Modern Apprenticeships
The Industry Training system that provides subsidised tertiary education and training to workers and government funding for Industry Training Organisations - described in the previous report - continues to represent an important strategic partnership between government, firms and employees in New Zealand and is being progressively expanded.
The Modern Apprenticeships programme, designed to increase and support the participation of young people in formal industry also continues to be expanded.
Gateway and Youth Apprenticeships
The Gateway programme that integrates schools-based learning with structured work-based learning continues to be rolled out in New Zealand schools.
The Youth Apprenticeships Pilot is a one year pilot operating in 10 schools nationwide in 2008. The pilot is a joint agency initiative involving the Ministry of Education, the Tertiary Education Commission and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. The Youth Apprenticeships Pilot is working with lead Gateway schools to develop an industry related pathway through secondary schooling. Further information on the pilot is available on the Ministry of Education website: http://www.minedu.govt.nz.
Changes to employment and assistance programmes
In April 2007 a number of policy changes were implemented to employment and training assistance, as part of Working New Zealand for people seeking to enter or retrain for employment. These changes include:
- Introduction of Course Participation Assistance Grant: a new grant designed to help with the cost of participating in shorter-term employment and training programmes. This grant will assist with the costs of childcare and transport and some short course fees, for example Heavy Traffic Licence fees.
- Changes to Transition to Work Grant: this grant is available to people on benefits, students and low income earners moving into the workforce or facing a short gap (up to four weeks) between jobs. It is designed to help with costs related to job seeking, job placement (including relocation) and the costs of living until first pay received.
- Changes to the Activity in the Community Programme: Activity in the Community was found to be ineffective as an employment programme and consequently is no longer available to work-tested clients. It remains available to non-work tested clients or those exempt from engaging in job seeking and planning activities who may derive social benefits from it.
- Improvements to Wage Subsidies: the recent changes consolidated the current suite of seven wage subsidies/skills training subsidies into two new payments:
- A Skills Investment Subsidy that acts as a joint wage/training subsidy for up to 52 weeks; and
- A Taskforce Green Subsidy, covering fixed term community or environmental projects that would not otherwise be done.
These changes are designed to enhance entitlement for all clients. The changes enable Work and Income to work better and earlier with all clients.
There are some specific enhancements to the overall framework for employment programmes which may be of particular interest, including:
- a move towards targeting assistance, based on a client’s circumstances and labour market disadvantage, right from the start;
- clients do not have to be unemployed for 26 weeks before they can access more intensive (and expensive) assistance;
- clients are assessed on an individual basis not by benefit type; and employment and training assistance is granted based on the needs of the client.
Assistance may be granted to those who are not in receipt of some form of government financial assistance who may be disadvantaged in the local labour market and are at clear risk of long-term benefit dependency.
The intention of these changes is to provide Work and Income with the ability, at the earliest possible point, to work with clients who are at risk of becoming long term unemployed and reduce that risk.
Please indicate what measures have been adopted to ensure that work is as productive as possible.
Please refer to the final section: ‘Responses to comments made by the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations’, question three, on workplace productivity.
Please indicate what provisions ensure that there is freedom of choice of employment and that each worker shall have the fullest possible opportunity to qualify for and to use his skills, in the conditions set out in paragraph 2(c).
There have been no further developments since the previous report in addition to material covered elsewhere in this report.
Please state whether special difficulties have been encountered in attaining the objectives of full, productive and freely chosen employment, and indicate how far these difficulties have been overcome.
In recent years, New Zealand has done well in both reducing and maintaining low unemployment in general. A range of targeted interventions are focused on improving outcomes for these groups who continue to experience labour market disadvantages, for example Māori, Pacific peoples, new migrants, mature workers, people with disabilities. There has been some success to date, especially with respect to outcomes for Maori, Pacific peoples and mature workers.
Please describe briefly how the employment policy objectives are related to other economic and social objectives.
Please refer to the earlier response provided under Article 1 on Working New Zealand and Working For Families.
Each Member shall, by such methods and to such extent as may be appropriate under national conditions-
- decide on and keep under review, within the framework of a co-ordinated economic and social policy, the measures to be adopted for attaining the objectives specified in Article 1 ;
- take such steps as may be needed, including when appropriate the establishment of programmes, for the application of these measures.
Please describe the measures taken to collect and analyse statistical and other data concerning: the size and distribution of the labour force, the nature and extent of unemployment and underemployment and trends therein, as a basis for deciding on measures of employment policy.
Official quarterly statistics produced from the Linked Employer-Employee Data (LEED) measure labour market dynamics, provide an insight into the operation of New Zealand's labour market. Statistics New Zealand releases other official labour market statistics which show changes in employment at an aggregate level. New statistics from LEED, such as job and worker flows, help explain what causes these aggregate movements and are therefore useful for explaining changes in the labour market.
LEED uses existing administrative data drawn from the taxation system, together with business data from Statistics New Zealand's Business Frame (BF). The LEED dataset is created by linking a longitudinal employer series from the BF to a longitudinal series of Employer Monthly Schedule payroll data from Inland Revenue. The LEED data can be accessed on the Statistics New Zealand website: http://www.stats.govt.nz/leed.
Please describe the procedures adopted to ensure that the effects on employment of measures taken to promote economic development or other economic and social objectives receive due consideration, at both the planning and the implementation stages, and that the principal measures of employment policy are decided on and kept under periodical review within the framework of a co-ordinated economic and social policy.
Please refer to the earlier response provided under Article 1.
In the application of this Convention, representatives of the persons affected by the measures to be taken, and in particular representatives of employers and workers, shall be consulted concerning employment policies, with a view to taking fully into account their experience and views and securing their full co-operation in formulating and enlisting support for such policies.
Please indicate the manner in which representatives of the persons affected are consulted concerning employment policies, with reference both to consultations with representatives of employers' and workers' organisations and to consultations with representatives of other sectors of the economically active population such as those working in the rural sector and the informal sector. Please also indicate whether formal consultative procedures have been established for this purpose.
The Government’s principle of consulting and engaging with those affected by employment-related policies continues. This includes actively seeking the views of employer and employee representatives on issues that affect New Zealand workplaces in order to take fully into account their experience and views and secure their co-operation where possible in formulating and supporting employment-related policies. An important example of collaboration and commitment to social partnership is the approach that has been taken to develop the Unified Skills Strategy. Some other examples are discussed below.
Ministerial Advisory Group on Restructuring and Redundancy
This Group appointed by the Minister of Labour is examining the adequacy of redundancy laws and provisions.With the support of the Department of Labour, the Group will report to the Ministers of Labour, Social Development and Employment, and Economic Development on the adequacy of New Zealand’s redundancy laws by June 2008.
In 2006, the Department of Labour was requested by the Government to consult widely about the best mechanisms to deliver flexible work practices in New Zealand. A public discussion paper, ‘Quality Flexible Work: increasing availability and take up in New Zealand’ was released for public comment in November 2006. The discussion paper covered key issues about flexible work in New Zealand and presented a range of approaches that could be used to increase availability to take up flexible work practices. The paper was developed in collaboration with Business New Zealand, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust.
The Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act 2007 was passed in Parliament in November 2007 and will come into force on 1 July 2008. The Act provides certain employees with the right to request a variation to their hours of work, days of work, or place of work. To be eligible for the “right to request” an employee must have the care of any person and have been employed by their employer for six months prior to making the request. When making the request, the employee must explain how the variation will help the employee provide better care for the person concerned.
The Act requires employers to consider the request for flexible working arrangements and provides the only grounds upon which they can refuse a request. The Act also provides a process for how requests are to be made and responded to. Employers and employees may seek assistance from the Department of Labour about requests for flexible working arrangements under the Act. A formal resolution process is provided should a disagreement arise regarding a request for flexible work.
A review of the operation and effects of the new legislation is required two years after commencement and will include recommendations on whether the provisions should be extended to all employees. The Department of Labour is currently working on guidelines for employees and employers to support the Act. These guidelines will be available at www.dol.govt.nz/worklife.
Gender-inclusive Job Evaluation Standard
In December 2006 the Department of Labour released guidelines to eliminate gender bias in jobs. The Gender-inclusive Job Evaluation Standard (the Standard) is an international first to help ensure all employees have fair pay, treatment and employment opportunities - regardless of gender. The Standard was sponsored by the Department of Labour, and was developed by a committee of representatives from the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions; Business New Zealand; the Department of Labour; the Human Rights Commission; District Health Boards New Zealand; the Ministry of Health, the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust; the State Services Commission; human resource companies; and equity experts. The Standard sets out existing good practices in preventing gender bias in job evaluation and is intended to contribute to overall improvement in human resources management.
Consultation on legislation/regulation
The regular consultation processes for ongoing policy decisions such as the Annual Minimum Wage review continue to be in place.
The formal parliamentary and other processes involving consultation on draft legislation and regulations in previous reports continue to apply. For example the Department of Labour recently sought opinions on a discussion document on the future of Easter trading laws regarding the impact of trading restrictions on retailers, on-licensed premises, consumers, employees, the general public and other groups in society resulting from the inconsistencies between the Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal Act 1990, Sale of Liquor Act 1989 and the Holidays Act 2003, with a focus on Easter Sunday.
- Please state to what authority or authorities the application of the above-mentioned legislation and administrative regulations, etc., is entrusted, and by what methods application is supervised and enforced. In particular, please supply information on the organisation and working of inspection.
There are no further developments since the last report.
- Please state whether courts of law or other tribunals have given decisions involving questions of principle relating to the application of the Convention. If so, please supply the text of these decisions.
No such decisions have been given.
- If your country has received any assistance or advice under the World Employment Programme or under other ILO technical cooperation projects, please indicate the action taken as a result. Please also indicate any factors which may have prevented or delayed such action.
No such assistance has been sought or received.
- In so far as such information has not been supplied in reply to previous questions please forward copies or extracts of reports studies and inquiries statistical data etc. covering such matters as: the size and distribution of the labour force; the nature extent and trends of unemployment and underemployment; manpower projections; income and poverty; technological change; and the impact on employment of economic and social policy measures.
Please refer to the following reports on New Zealand’s labour market:
- Skills in the Labour Market (February 2008);
- Females in the Labour Market (March 2008);
- Further relevant reports can be accessed at: http://www.dol.govt.nz and http://www.socialreport.msd.govt.nz.
Copies of legislation can be accessed at www.legislation.govt.nz.
- Please indicate the representative organisations of employers and workers to which copies of the present report have been communicated in accordance with article 23, paragraph 2, of the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation. If copies of the report have not been communicated to representative organisations of employers and/or workers, or if they have been communicated to bodies other than such organisations, please supply information on any particular circumstances existing in your country which explain the procedure followed.
Please indicate whether you have received from the organisations of employers or workers concerned any observations, either of a general kind or in connection with the present or the previous report, regarding the practical application of the provisions of the Convention or the application of the legislation or other measures implementing the Convention. If so, please communicate the observations received, together with any comments that you consider useful.
Business New Zealand and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions
Responses to comments made by the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations in 2008
In response to the Committee’s comments on the New Zealand Government’s previous report for the period ended 31 May 2006, please note the following replies.
- The Committee asks the Government to keep providing in its next report information on the Better Work Working Better (BWWB) as well as the Work-Life Balance work programme. In particular, it notes with interest the use of social and economic indicators, included in the BWWB, and asks to be kept informed of the results of its new employment strategy.
A range of indicators can be used to measure New Zealand’s progress towards the goals of Better Work, Working Better. Some examples include GDP growth, GDP per capita, employment growth, labour force participation rate, satisfaction with work-life balance, qualifications of those in the workforce, and labour productivity.
Annual growth in gross domestic product was 2.7 percent for the September 2007 quarter. Economic activity increased 0.5 percent in the September 2007 quarter. Service industries continue to underpin growth, with insurance, property and business services industries; and transport accounting for over half the growth. Fishing, forestry and mining activity increased 15.5 percent in the September 2007 quarter. Real gross national disposable income increased 3.6 percent in the September 2007 quarter.5
The steady macroeconomic performance that has seen reductions in the official unemployment rate and increases in the participation rate since December 1999, and which has continued since 2006, has resulted in progress against these goals being achieved.
- The Committee asks the Government to continue providing it with information on the measures it has taken in the area of education and training policies and their relation to employment policies. It also requests the Government to provide more information on initiatives taken to increase employment opportunities for Maori and Pacific peoples and new immigrants and the impact they have on had on bridging the gap between the employment opportunities of these groups and the general population.
Improving Sustainable Employment Outcomes for Maori job seekers
A policy framework was developed, defining the issues and aspirations of the diverse population of unemployed Maori and emphasising the creation of structured skills pathways that are linked to sustained regional economic development.
There are several initiatives that aim to improve employment outcomes for Maori job-seekers. They involve a number of agencies at both the local and national levels including Te Puni Kokiri, Housing New Zealand Corporation and District Health Boards. Examples include:
- concentrating initiatives in regions with high Maori populations;
- partnerships with other agencies to create sustainable employment for people through skills development; and
- partnerships with local and regional councils to create employment schemes that benefit local communities.
Measures for Pacific Peoples and migrants
The Department of Labour has worked closely with a number of Pacific countries to implement the new Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme. Further information on the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme has been provided under Part II of this report.
With regard to immigration settings more broadly, the Government has strengthened the legislative framework through a review and redesign of the Immigration Act 1987 and promotion of the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act 2007.
The Skilled Migrant Category, which provides residence opportunities for skilled people coming to New Zealand, was reviewed to ensure New Zealand remains well positioned to attract quality workers in a globally competitive environment. For the year ended June 2007, there was a 19 percent increase in work application decisions, reflecting the global trend of an increasingly mobile workforce.
- The Committee would be interested in examining the results obtained in increasing workplace productivity and would appreciate if the Government could include data on these matters in its next report.
Workplace Productivity Agenda
The Agenda aims to lift productivity through awareness raising, providing workshops through Chambers of Commerce and developing diagnostic tools for businesses. Evaluation includes responses to the diagnostic tool called the productivity snapshot questionnaire. It enables employers and employees to assess their own workplace productivity and then provide suggestions for ways to improve it. Case studies that provide a diverse range of examples where businesses have improved their productivity are available on the Department of Labour website:
Over 3,000 businesses have attended workshops on workplace productivity jointly run by employer and industry partners in the Workplace Productivity Agenda. Business New Zealand and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions have been active in promoting these workshops to members to ensure workers know more about productivity and become more involved in their workplaces.
The Workplace Productivity Agenda has been rolled out in the public sector. The State Services Commission, the Department of Labour and the largest state sector union, the Public Service Association have developed a joint work programme that will facilitate the improvement of workplace practices and performance in the public sector.
The Government’s work with the business sector and unions to promote quality flexible work arrangements should promote productivity as some of the recognised benefits of quality flexible work arrangements are improved recruitment and retention, reduced absenteeism, reduced stress and improved productivity.
Improving the health of the labour force is also important for lifting productivity given the links between work quality and productivity. The Department of Labour continues to promote health and safety practices and the need for these to be linked and integrated into good management practices. A recent study6 highlights a number of potential benefits from linking health and safety to productivity, including:
- fewer injuries mean that more people keep working;
- designing safety into business is a source of increased innovation, improved quality and improved efficiencies;
- safe workplaces enhance corporate reputations and improve staff recruitment and retention; and
- fewer injuries help reduce accident compensation levies.
Healthy and safe workplaces are fundamental to achieving productive work and high quality working lives for New Zealand. As part of the Workplace Health and Safety Strategy, the Department of Labour is committed to supporting industry to improve workplace health and safety. Understanding the additional productivity benefits of health and safety will assist industry to take a lead. The Department of Labour recently commissioned research to review whether businesses invest in health and safety and how this contributes to their performance and productivity7. The research identified that there are many positive links for New Zealand businesses between healthy and safe workplaces and productivity, including:
- fewer injuries that stop people from working;
- increased innovation;
- improved quality;
- enhanced corporate reputation;
- reduced accident compensation levies;
- lower costs to compensate workers; and
- improved staff recruitment and retention.
The Government recognises that improved work-life balance contributes to increased workplace productivity, improved well-being and quality of life, and addressing skill and labour shortages by encouraging labour market participation.
The Department of Labour is working with a group of large public and private sector organisations from around the country to identify their work-life balance issues and develop and trial tailored solutions. The results from these workplaces will be used to build practical tools and resources for employers and employees across New Zealand.
The Department of Labour has a small business project underway which will provide practical tools and guidelines for small businesses and small business owners in New Zealand who are grappling with work-life balance issues.
The Work-Life Balance Project is operating on the basis of two key principles that are crucial to achieving good, lasting results. These are finding win-win solutions, an approach that balances the needs of the business and their employees; and working in partnership, where employers, employees, and other parties in the workplace, such as unions, each have a voice.
A Department of Labour survey of employees in 2006, found a strong relationship between employees’ ratings of productivity practices in the workplace and their own work-life balance8.
Upskilling Partnership Programme
The Upskilling Partnership Programme was established in 2007. It is designed to engage employers and workers in training programmes that include literacy, language and numeracy (LLN). It includes a research and evaluation programme that will provide an evidence base about what forms of training work best and what the business benefits are from investing in LLN skills development.
In collaboration with the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and Business New Zealand, the “Decent Work – Charting Our Progress” website was established in 2007. It reflects the ILO primary goal of decent work for all workers, which is work that is productive and delivers a fair income in conditions of freedom, equity, and security in line with human dignity. In the current environment of labour and skills shortages, it is important that New Zealand workplaces are attractive to workers. This initiative by New Zealand strongly supports that goal:
- The Committee would appreciate continuing to receive information on the manner in which the Government seeks the views of employers’ and workers’ representatives as well as of other interested groups concerning all issues related to employment policies, in order to take fully into account their experience and views to secure their full cooperation in formulating and to enlist support for such policies.
Please refer to the earlier response provided under Article 3.
1 All figures are either seasonally adjusted or are annual average figures unless specified otherwise.
2 Youth is defined as those aged 15-24 to be consistent with international standards.
3The use of the term whānau recognise the wide diversity of families represented within Māori communities. As a principal source of strength, support, security and identity, whānau plays a central role in the wellbeing of Māori individually and collectively. The aiga is, in traditional Samoan culture, the extended family.
4 TEC (2006) Tertiary Education Strategy 2007-12, Incorporating Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities 2008-10.
5 Gross Domestic Product: September 2007 quarter, Statistics New Zealand.
6 “Understanding the link between workplace health and safety and firm performance and productivity” by Massey University’s Centre for SME Research, 2006.
7 “How Health and Safety Makes Good Business Sense – A Summary of Research Findings”, Department of Labour.