‘Active choice form’ released ahead of 30-day rule reinstatement

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has released the much anticipated ‘active choice form’ that, from Monday 6 May 2019, employers must give to new employees who are covered by the 30-day rule.

The purpose of the form is for employees to notify their employer whether or not they intend to join the union after their first 30 days of employment.

Over the coming days it will be important to look at how the form fits within existing on-boarding processes where there is a collective agreement in force.

What is the 30-day rule?

The 30-day rule requires new employees (who are not members of a union and whose work is covered by a collective agreement) to be employed on the same terms and conditions as the collective agreement that covers their work for the first 30 days of employment.

When must the form be provided?

Employers must provide the form within the first 10 days of employment, while the employee is covered by the 30-day rule (it does not need to be provided to existing employees).  The form must be accompanied by a notice that:

  • specifies when the employee must return the form by; and
  • explains that, unless the employee objects in their returned form, the employer will provide certain information about the employee to the union(s) that is party to the collective agreement that covers their work.

Employees may complete and return the form during the 30 day period.

While there is no obligation on employers to ensure that employees return their form within the timeframe, it will be important for employers to do so, as this determines what information must be provided to the union about the employee at the end of the 30 day period.

Unless the employee objects (in their form within the 30 day timeframe), employers must provide the relevant union(s) the following information:

  • the employee’s name; and
  • the completed form, or, if the form is not completed, notice that the new employee did not complete and return the form.

Penalties

Failure to provide the form to a new employee that is covered by the 30 day rule, or failure to provide the required information to the relevant union(s) could result in a penalty of up to $10,000 for an individual and $20,000 for a company.

The form can be found here and for further information, see MBIE’s guidance for employers on using the form here.

Our team of experts would be happy to advise on any questions you may have.

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