Value and respect your workers to help rebuild economy – EEO Commissioner

Value and respect your workers to help rebuild economy – EEO Commissioner

June 10, 2020

The Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner is concerned by the approach taken by several employers in making workers redundant this past week.  

“It is disheartening to hear the daily news of workers being made redundant, sometimes with very little notice,” says Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo. 

“I call on all our business leaders to remember that your staff and the tax-payer have been and remain on this difficult journey with you. This is our team of 5 million!” 

“To leaders making hard calls – ensure Kiwis are treated in good faith, with dignity, respect, and when absolutely necessary, provide them time to prepare themselves and their families for the crisis of a job and income loss.” 

“Now more than ever, we must ensure our workers feel valued, as it is their talent and loyalty that our businesses and country need now and in future to rebuild our economy and collective prosperity.” 

Saunoamaali’i also emphasised that young people and students were also among the many who had lost their jobs or prospects of a job upon graduating due to the pandemic.  

“Our young people, graduates, and international students are also struggling like many ordinary Kiwis out there. Their jobs are usually the first to go as employers begin to tighten their purse-strings.” 

“These young people rely on training, apprenticeships, and flexible working arrangements in an already difficult and fraught labour market.” 

“Being open-minded and flexible employers will ensure those who are already disadvantaged, especially disabled young people, Māori and Pacific, and those with mental health challenges have access to employment opportunities.” 

“Let’s be kind and compassionate, as we all work together to rebuild our economy and communities.”  

As workers, if you are unaware of your employment rights and avenues for remedies, please contact your union, MBIE, or the Human Rights Commission on 0800 496 877 if you feel you’ve been discriminated against in employment.