1 Apr 2016

Employers will test new zero hour law, union says

6:04 pm on 1 April 2016

A union is warning it will take legal action against employers who flout new laws banning zero hour contracts.

Photo: 123RF

Legislation that bans zero hour contracts passed its third and final reading in Parliament last month.

The changes mean employers will have to guarantee hours and give reasonable compensation to workers for being available.

Businesses have up to 12 months to make changes to the contracts, which affect tens of thousands of workers.

Unite union's national secretary Gerard Hehir said employers would not get away with guaranteeing one hour or giving just a few cents in compensation.

"It's going to have to be reasonable, you know it's not going to be a few cents or a free meal or a pat on the back. It's going to have to be something the employer is sure the employee is reasonably compensated for the fact that week by week they don't know how many hours they are working or when they are working."

He expected cases might go to court over the next year as employers tested the laws, but the law was ultimately a big step forward for workers.

The Auckland Employers and Manufacturers Association said most employers have already changed their contracts.