The Government has employment relations expectations for the public sector.
Ā te Kāwanatanga kawatau hononga taimahi The Government’s employment relations expectations for the public sector
The Government’s expectations of how public sector employers effectively manage employment relations is outlined in a suite of documents comprising:
Taken together these documents outline, among other things, the Government’s expectations of public sector employers when negotiating employment agreements.
Te Tauākī Kaupapa Here Ohu Mahi Kāwanatanga Government Workforce Policy Statement
On 5 May 2021 the Minister for the Public Service issued a Government Workforce Policy Statement (Workforce Policy) setting out the Government's expectations of how it wants the Public Service and most other public sector agencies to effectively manage employment relations.
The Workforce Policy sets out the Government’s expectation that the Public Service is an exemplar employer, one which uses modern, progressive employment practices, and is a great place to work. It also wants a productive unified workforce which is grounded in the spirit of service.
To achieve these goals, the Workforce Policy has 4 key workforce priorities:
- Employ people fairly, equitably and in a way that allows them to live good lives and participate in the economy.
- Work collaboratively with unions and other groups to achieve shared goals.
- Create an inclusive environment for all workers with the aim of achieving a diverse workforce.
- Achieve the goals within the fiscal context of the Government.
The Public Service Commissioner has issued Pay Guidance to support agencies to give effect to these priorities. This was most recently updated in March 2023.
Te Aratohu Utu Ratonga Tūmatanui Public Service Pay Guidance
To help agencies to give effect to the Government’s expectation of pay restraint, the Public Service Commissioner issued Public Service Pay Guidance to Public Service agencies on how he expects they will approach these matters. He has asked other public sector organisations to take the same approach.
Frequently asked questions about Pay Guidance are answered here:
Whakaaetanga tōpūtanga, kerēme utu ōrite hoki, whakaaetanga utu tōkeke Negotiating collective agreements, pay equity claims and fair pay agreements
The Public Service Commissioner (Commissioner) is responsible for the negotiation of collective agreements, pay equity claims and fair pay agreements in the Public Service. In practice the powers and functions associated with these roles are delegated to Public Service chief executives.
The Commissioner’s delegations to Public Service chief executives has been updated through a single delegation instrument for the functions and powers in respect of these three responsibilities in three parts to which the Government Workforce Policy Statement and Pay Guidance are attached.
The three parts of the delegations instrument are:
- Part A – collective bargaining
- Part B – pay equity bargaining, and
- Part C – fair pay agreements bargaining.
He raraunga tautoko Data to support agencies in bargaining
The Commission reports quarterly on wage movements across the public sector and Public Service, as measured by the Labour Cost Index (LCI).
Labour Cost Index reporting
Each quarter Te Kawa Mataaho reports on wage movements as measured by the Labour Cost Index (LCI). The LCI is released quarterly by Stats NZ. It measures changes in salary and wage rates in the labour market for the same quality and quantity of labour. The Index is “adjusted”, moving with changes in the price of labour, holding the volume of labour (quality and quantity) static.
The Commission uses the LCI to monitor and oversee wage movements, including bargaining outcomes, in the public sector and select public sector sub-sectors, including the Public Service, and the health and education sectors.
Ture taimahi Employment legislation
Information on the Employment Relations Act 2000 and related legislation and on minimum employment rights in New Zealand can be accessed through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Employment New Zealand website. The site contains useful guides to key employment processes, including collective and individual bargaining and minimum holiday and other leave entitlements. This site also has a link to the employment law database where copies of decisions of the Employment Relations Authority and the Employment Court can be accessed.
Find the Employment Relations Act 2000 and all other New Zealand statutes on the New Zealand Legislation website.
The Public Service Act 2020 requires the chief executive of each department and the board of each interdepartmental venture put in place a process for reviewing appointments within their agency that are the subject of a complaint by an employee.