News & Thinking
How to prepare for the new sexual harassment law change
Employers are likely to need to update their employment agreements next month (or shortly afterwards) to comply with changes regarding the timeframes for employees to raise personal grievance claims.
The Employment Relations (Extended Time for Personal Grievance for Sexual Harassment) Amendment Bill is set to have its Third Reading and is likely to be passed next month and come into force shortly afterwards. The Bill extends the timeframe for employees to raise a personal grievance regarding sexual harassment from 90 days to 12 months. The 90-day period for all other types of grievances will remain the same. The change in law aims to improve the personal grievance process for victims of sexual harassment by allowing them more time to consider what has happened to them before deciding whether to raise a personal grievance.
Individual employment agreements must already include a reference to the time period within which a personal grievance must be raised to comply with the Employment Relations Act. When the Bill is passed, individual agreements will have to refer to the 12-month period in relation to personal grievances in respect of sexual harassment. At this stage, the Bill does not provide additional time for employers to comply with this requirement, so employment agreements should be updated as soon as possible after the amendment comes into force.
Employers should also be keeping an eye on the Fair Pay Agreements dashboard on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website for applications that might impact their workplace.
To date, First Union’s application to initiate bargaining for a Bus Transport Industry Fair Pay Agreement, is the only one that has been approved. Others currently being assessed relate to hospitality, supermarkets, security guards and commercial cleaners.
If you need assistance with any employment matters, please contact the Anthony Harper employment team.