Last week we mentioned our work on reviewing changes to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. The Health and Safety at Work (Volunteer Associations) Amendment Bill proposes that Associations “that employ a person or persons for not greater than 100 hours per week.” will be granted exemption from H&S legislation.
Another issue is that while an employer still needs to provide a safe workplace for volunteers, the volunteers it employs do not have the same rights to H&S representation and participation, such as a H&S rep trained to the appropriate Unit Standard, as would be the case for paid employees.
Following consultation with volunteer brigade members, Volunteering New Zealand and our lawyers we’ve become aware of the need to propose an amendment to the current legislation to provide volunteers the same rights of representation and participation as employees.
While Fire and Emergency NZ still has a duty of care to volunteers and volunteers have an ability to raise issues, volunteers cannot compel a response. We wish to advance a submission as part of this review process to counter this, ensuring volunteers have the same rights to representation and participation as paid employees.
Our joint UFBA/FRFANZ draft submission can be viewed below.
Update 29 June - Thank you to all those who provided feedback during our consultation period to 25 June. Respondents were unanimously in support of our submission.
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