In my in-box today, more stories about abuses of the 90 day no rights law.
I’m sharing one of them, as hopefully, it might stimulate some discussion about the realities of what the government has imposed on ordinary NZ workers. I’m hoping that the Kiwi values of fairness and justice might activate some real concern about what is being unleashed on New Zealand’s workforce.
James (not his real name) was previously working on a 6 month job scheme. He had been there 5 ½ months when Work and Income found him a full time job. The first afternoon at his work he had an accident – he squashed his finger between a log and a concrete wall, resulting in two breaks. He nearly lost his finger, but surgeons managed to save it.
James was given a medical certificate for one week and there was a verbal agreement with his employer that he could go on light duties until the injury was healed. James was told he would be trained for the retail side of work as long as he got a medical certificate.
James’ GP gave him a medical certificate for 6 weeks light duties. When he handed in this certificate to his employer, he was told “sorry – we need someone in the mill,” and he was laid off.
His letter of dismissal says that :
“As you are unavailable to resume full duties….. and are in your three month trial period, I am unable to hold your position for that lenght of time due to production demands in the factory.”
Next day, the job that James could have done was advertised in the newspaper.
Funny thing : James didn’t sign any contract agreeing to a 90 day trial period. Yes, there’s a legal argument about James’ situation. He could pursue it legally, if he can gather the resources and legal costs involved.
But the question is how does he feed his family until he finds other work?
James is highly motivated to find work in his community where unemployment is high. He’s not unreasonable. In fact, he was really pleased to get off a work scheme and into a genuine job.
But his employer exposed him to injury on his first day of work and James is paying the price.
Bottom line, the 90 day no rights period gives his employer an out and unless James is determined, unless James can jump through legal hoops, unless James can convince Work and Income and ACC that his case is legitimate, he and his family will bear the cost.
This isn’t fair.