You will have read or heard about the Government’s employment law package.

These measures are practical solutions to issues facing employers and employees. They will reduce compliance costs, give businesses more confidence to take on new staff, help resolve workplace disputes faster, and provide more choices for employees and employers.

Let’s have a look at some of the options in detail:

The voluntary 90-day trial period for new employees will be extended to cover all employers.  This gives employers more confidence to hire new employees.  It gives employees the chance to prove themselves in a job.

The Government is also looking at fixing the personal grievance system.  Amongst other things, the Employment Relations Authority will have the ability to filter out vexatious or frivolous claims early on. Behaviour that delays the Authority will be penalised, and rules on union access to workplaces will change, so that any access will require the consent of the employer. That consent cannot be unreasonably withheld.

The point of these changes is to protect the rights of workers whilst at the same time resolving employment problems faster.  It will also reduce the costs of disputes.

Finally, there will be some changes to the Holidays Act.  Employees will be able to trade one of their four weeks’ annual leave for cash. • This is only at the employee’s request.  In addition, employers and employees will be able to agree to transfer the observance of public holidays to another working day.

We are always looking at ways of improving the conditions in which business can do business more efficiently and effectively.  These changes, coming in next year, make a difference without compromising workers’ rights.