Recommendations from the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group

8 Feb 19

On 31 January the coalition government released the Recommendations from the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group report.

Fair pay agreements would set minimum working conditions and wage rates across a specific sector or occupation.


The working group (chaired by former National prime minister Jim Bolger) recommended that:

  1. Fair pay agreements are sector-wide and compulsory for any employer in that defined sector.
  2. Agreements would cover all workers including contractors, not just employees.
  3. Negotiations for an agreement would be triggered if:
    1. either 10% of a sector/occupation’s workforce or 1,000 workers (whichever is smaller) ask for a fair pay agreement; or
    2. there is public interest due to “harmful labour market conditions” in the nominated sector or occupation.
  4. There may be a case for “limited flexibility for exemptions” from the agreement in some circumstances.


Unsurprisingly, trade unions have signalled support for the report’s recommendations while employer groups have signalled concerns.

Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has indicated that it will be at least a year before any new legislation is introduced. The landscape of negotiating agreements in many industries is likely to change significantly if new legislation follows the working party’s recommendations.


Want to know more?

If you have any questions about the above recommendations, please contact our specialist Employment Team