Amendments to Labour laws, to solidify Seasonal Worker Scheme

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The amendments to the Labor and Employment Relations Act 2022 were approved in the first reading before Parliament today.

The bill was submitted to the floor by Minister of Public Enterprises, Leatinuu Wayne So’oialo.

The measure covers a number of issues the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour says seeks to amend labour acts to improve consistency with ratified International labour organization conventions.

Also to clarify the terms and conditions of employment and the role of labour inspectors improve processes for resolving employee grievances and complaints and also to provide for a process regarding the termination of employment.

One specific amendment in the proposed bill will assist with the Seasonal Working Scheme Program according to the Explanatory Memorandum.

This measure is proposed to amend section 12 of the Principal Act to add a new function to the Ministry to administer the placements of someone citizens overseas employments under the bilateral agreements with other countries as well as the criteria and conditions for a person’s selection and participation in overseas employment.

As well as conditions relating to any person acting as a recruitment agent and any related matter.

There are over 6,000 seasonal workers in New Zealand and Australia and this month Cabinet suspended this program pending a full review by the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labor over a number of issues that surfaced as the results of the program.

Including workers resigning from their posts locally to take up opportunities with the seasonal worker’s program, other issues are men opting to remarry while overseas leaving their families behind in Samoa.