Duncan Garner: Stand by for price rises to pay for employment changes

Opinion 01/04/2019

OPINION: Today is D-Day for New Zealand employers.

There are plenty of changes, and these will come at a cost - cha ching.

Employers can thank Labour's April Fools' Day changes - but these are real. 

First, the minimum wage - I had to re-read this and re-read it again to remind myself that it was true. Minimum wage is going up by $1.20 an hour, or $48 per week. Why? Basically because Labour thinks the bosses haven't passed on the profits to the little people over the years so 'bugger it', they think, 'we're in office, eat this'.

And it will be hard to swallow for some. This is the biggest one-off increase ever. 

I sat for years watching National in the 1990s put it up by 10c, then zero then another 10c, 25c, zero again, 10 cents, zero, then 50 cents during an election year, then zero again.

It could take six or seven years to get the kind of increase that workers will get from today.

Standby for across-the-board price rises to pay for it. In return, the Government will let businesses with fewer than 20 employees keep the 90-day trial period for staff but let's hope the pay rise isn't the excuse for sacking a few workers. 

Another change from today is the provision of domestic violence leave where employers must allow workers two weeks off work for being on the receiving end of an angry partner at home.

All the onus is on the business to put in the support structures and manage that person back to work and, if the violence occurred when they were in a previous job, it doesn't matter - the current employer is responsible. 

If you often find yourself thinking, Labour or National - they're all the same, These April 1 changes make a fool of that statement.

National would never put up the minimum wage like Labour's done and they also voted against the domestic violence leave.

Ardern's grip on power right now is vice-like. Simon Bridges is struggling to get oxygen. He almost needs the Jami-Lee Ross scandal all over again. But, then again, maybe not.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.