No word from government on BusinessNZ's FPA concerns

BusinessNZ says implementing the scheme ignores the reality of modern workplaces

No word from government on BusinessNZ's FPA concerns

The government has yet to respond to the concerns raised by BusinessNZ on the fair pay agreement (FPA) scheme, according to the organisation’s chief executive Kirk Hope.

The FPA is a legally binding agreement that outlines minimum pay and conditions between employers and employees.

Hope said that they previously wrote to Workplace Relations Minister Michael Wood in December to express their concern of the scheme, especially after the government included BusinessNZ in it without its agreement.

According to the chief executive, Kiwis do not believe in the need for an FPA and "don't want their right to flexibility in the workplace to be taken away."

"However, the lack of response from the Government and comments they've made elsewhere make it clear they’re determined to plough on with FPAs, despite them being fundamentally flawed and out of touch with modern ways of working," he added.

He expressed his disappointment to the government for not taking time to reflect the concerns of businesses about the FPAs, adding that the proposed compulsory national agreements should be scrapped.

"How can the Government be so tone deaf to push ahead with the proposed scheme when neither employers nor employees want FPAs introduced? There really are no winners," said Hope.

"Implementing FPAs does not recognise the reality of modern workforces and the current environment in which they operate."

Read more: BusinessNZ turns down government offer on FPAs

The Business NZ chief executive stressed that the FPAs also could not come at a worse time because businesses are facing pressure from runaway inflation, labour shortages, fast-rising costs, supply chain issues, and the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

"Omicron and the way in which New Zealanders are now learning to live with the virus, means that employers and employees are now having to work together to ensure flexible working practices while meeting COVID-19 isolation requirements. FPAs would largely take away the ability to do this."

While the government has yet to issue a respond to their concerns, Hope said they remain committed to working with employers and employees to prevent the introduction of compulsory FPAs.

"We will continue to fight on behalf of our members until the Government does what its own officials have recommended – scrap FPAs and focus on improving and strengthening the current system," he said.

"We are still hopeful that our position will prompt a re-think of the policy by the Government and that they will listen to the genuine concerns raised by Business NZ and the thousands of hardworking Kiwis about these unlawful compulsory national pay agreements," he added.

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