Tag Archives: New Zealand

Planning a Family? Your guide to parental leave.

There are approximately 173 babies born each day in New Zealand. That’s over 63,000 NZ mums, and 63,000 NZ dads welcoming a wee tot into their family each year. With new promises being made around paid parental leave, we thought it important to remind parents-to-be of their entitlements under the current and future laws, and to inform employers of their obligations.

Continue reading

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

What the Election Results Mean for You

Over the weekend we had the New Zealand General Election, the National Party was once again the winner on the night, and with a surprising percentage of the party votes will now enter their third term in Government. The big question for us, and you, is what this result means for employers and employees. National are looking like a sure thing to hold a majority in parliament and can govern on their own without the need for minority coalition partners, this means that they will be able to pass the Employment Relations Act Amendments put forward by Simon Bridges without any opposition.

The biggest and most controversial changes to the Act come in the form of Collective Bargaining reform. This is where the Bill faced the most opposition at Select Committee. Sweeping changes come in the form of employers being able to opt out of collective bargaining if a stalemate is reached, the 30 Day Rule, whereby new employees are given the conditions of the collective for the first month is repealed and employers now have the ability to opt out of multi-employer collective agreements. You may not like these new provisions, but put down the signs, the megaphones and back away from the picket line, employers will now have the ability to decrease employees’ pay in response to partial strikes.

A main policy of the amendments is to increase flexibility in working arrangements for both employers and employees. These are implemented in the form of restructures to the provisions around rest and meal breaks, and employees’ abilities to request flexible working arrangements. Any employee may request changes to their working arrangements, including their hours, days or place of work. Previously this was limited to people who had another person in their care. This doesn’t mean you can start working from home in your PJs though! Employers have one month to consider the request and respond and may decline the request under certain circumstances, including quality decreasing, performance suffering, if it will cost them more, or the additional workload won’t be able to be spread among the current staff.

Workers will not rejoice over the new rest and meal break policies, instead of prescribed times the Act will move to a standard of reasonableness, and if an employer can’t reasonably provide breaks then the employer must provide them with compensation. These new standards are interesting as they are not defined and will likely to be tested in the Courts, though it does at a glance seem like an erosion of employee rights.

These changes may not be popular with all, but they will be passed into law soon enough with the result of the election. If you have any questions about how they will impact you as an employer or your rights as an employee, contact BuckettLaw, the employment law experts.

Tagged , , ,

Beware of belittling

We discussed bullying in an article not so long ago, and workplaces continue to be fraught with bullies and their victims. Thus, we continue our quest to help employers and employees recognise bullying behaviour and deal with it appropriately.

Bullying behaviour may not be instantly recognisable, or you may not be able to point to one particular incident of bullying. Often bullying comprises of an accumulation of many small incidents over a long period of time. Many people do not realise that the unfavourable behaviour directed towards them is “bullying” behaviour. Victims may not want to report the behaviour for fear of not being taken seriously, or being told to “harden up”. Employers may see a victim as being overly sensitive rather than genuinely investigating their concerns. If bullying behaviour is not dealt with appropriately it can have detrimental effects on both the employer and the victim(s). Bullying is not something to be tossed aside and ignored.

Bullying behaviour includes (but is not limited to): 

  • using fowl or offensive language
  • nitpicking, fault-finding or trivial criticism
  • making threats
  • sarcasm, hostility or rudeness
  • interrupting
  • belittling
  • providing instructions without reasonable explanation
  • setting unreasonable goals or deadlines
  • refusing reasonable requests without justification
  • excessive scrutiny
  • refusal to acknowledge contributions or achievements
  • attempts to undermine value and worth
  • isolating, treating differently
  • denying training necessary to fulfil duties
  • initiating disciplinary procedures for trivial reasons

A notable decision of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia is an excellent example of the importance of addressing bullying behaviour appropriately. In Swan v Monash Law Book Cooperative [2013] VSC 326 the employer was ordered to pay a total of just under $600,000 in damages to an employee who had been bullied over a 5 year period. It was found that the employer:

  • failed to properly define relations and expectations concerning workplace conduct;
  • failed to appropriately train employees to deal appropriately with bullying behaviour and complaints;
  • failed to consider appropriate measures to address inappropriate conduct, and a failure to inform the bully that his behaviour was inappropriate;
  • failed to intervene and investigate complaints within a timely manner when complaints were first raised;
  • failed to have a formal structure or complaints mechanism in place for employees to seek assistance when bullying occurred;
  • failed to monitor the situation;
  • failed to have a safe return to work strategy.

The Supreme Court’s decision demonstrates the onerous obligations on employers to ensure a safe and healthy workplace, and the high risks employer face if they do not comply. It is not enough to simply change a victims’ reporting lines, or transfer a bully from one team to another. Bullying can often occur because of a workplace’s culture or lack of policies and procedures addressing suitable and acceptable behaviour. Not only do these policies have to exist, but they need to be implemented appropriately and efficiently.

While New Zealand is slightly lagging behind Australia in relation to health and safety laws, and certainly in terms of compensatory awards in bullying cases, WorkSafe NZ’s bullying guidelines released in February indicate we are following in Australia’s footsteps in recognising the importance of cracking down on bullying behaviour. It is vital that employers have appropriate measures in place to deal with bullies and victims.

Image from http://888fulcrum.com/
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Weighty Issue

Weight bias and discrimination has the potential to become the new racism. Are you an “obesist”? Or a “fatist” (as they like to call it in my office)?

The reality is that around 1 in 4 New Zealand adults are classified as obese. Obesity is a worldwide epidemic which can have serious consequences for employers and employees. Example: what happens when a job candidate applying to wait tables at your crazy-busy street cafe has stellar credentials, but he is overweight and you worry he won’t be able to keep up with the frantic pace on his feet for 10 hours a day? Can you refuse to hire him because you think he is too large?  obesity

The Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993 govern the grounds of discrimination in the workplace. “Obesity” is not specifically referred to as a prohibited ground for discrimination, but “disability” is. Thus it begs the question – is obesity a disability? Disability is defined as:

  • physical disability or impairment;
  • physical illness;
  • psychiatric illness;
  • intellectual or psychological disability or impairment;
  • any other loss or abnormality or psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or function;
  • reliance on a guide dog, wheelchair, or other remedial means;
  • the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing illness.

While obesity may not be a “disability” per se, it may be a significant factor in finding that a person has a disability. Another thought to ponder: what if a person’s obesity is a symptom of a medical condition? Should we distinguish between cause and effect?

The UK judiciary have been faced with some difficult cases recently surrounding obesity issues in the workplace. While they have refused to accept obesity is a disability in its own right, they have concluded that an obese person may be disabled if their obesity has a real impact on their ability to participate in work.

In New Zealand, an employer can specify particular physical characteristics only if those characteristics are essential in order to perform the job satisfactorily, or in order to meet safety requirements. There must be a real and genuine reason for doing so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

RISKY BUSINESS

safetyIn the past few months the newspapers have been inundated with stories of workplace accidents where employers have been ordered to fork out tens of thousands in fines and compensation.

  • Canpac was ordered to pay $35,000 to an employee who had lost part of her finger in a slitter machine.
  • Centrelink (Australia) was ordered to pay  compensation to an employee who suffered from an anxiety and depressive disorder after being told she was required to work between the hours of 8am – 4pm Monday-Friday.
  • The Court ordered Wealleans Groundspread Ltd to pay over $100k for failing to protect the safety of workers following the death of an employee who was operating a truck adapted to spread fertiliser.
  • Last year, 51 people were killed in workplace accidents in New Zealand.

Proposed changes to the law

Worksafe New Zealand was established to reduce our workplace injury and death toll by 25% by 2020. The incentive arose from the Pike River disaster, in which 29 of our men perished. The Health and Safety Reform Bill is a much-needed piece of legislation to protect the health and safety of our workers. The Bill allows for greater participation from all workers to get involved in health and safety discussions in the workplace. There will be higher legal requirements placed on managers and company directors to manage risk, and to ensure a safe working environment. At present the penalties for non-compliance range from $250k – $500k and 2 years imprisonment. The suggested penalties in the new Bill range from $300k – $3m and up to 5 years imprisonment – plenty of reasons to not be caught short of full compliance.

simpsonsThe Bill means that there can be no passing the buck, nor is there any room for ignorance. Directors and senior managers must be aware of the positive duties imposed on them and their obligations under the new legislation.

Similarly, employees should be aware of health and safety risks/requirements and should raise any concerns with their employer. A worker was recently fired from Top Energy for not following safety procedures. The Employment Relations Authority found that the employer was justified in terminating the employment due to the employee’s failure to follow safety procedures which resulted in a serious situation – his own electrocution. Therefore it is up to everyone in the workplace, not just employers/managers, to ensure safety comes first.

A Focus on Occupational Health

Worksafe also aims to focus on occupational health. You don’t need to be working in a dangerous physical environment for your health to suffer. Workplace hazards which need to be managed include physical, mechanical, biological, chemical and psychological. In particular, there are many psychological stresses on employees, such as:risk assessment

  • Long working hours
  • Large workloads
  • Tight deadlines
  • Work intensification
  • Poor work-life balance
  • Feelings of job insecurity
  • Ageing workforce
  • High emotional demands
  • Learning and adapting to new technology

Directors and managers must recognise and control potential hazards. Education and a broad knowledge of the legal requirements and duties imposed on individuals will be extremely important to avoid accidents or penalties moving forward. Liability will be based on the new standard set to kick in early 2015.

For further information or advice to ensure compliance, contact BuckettLaw – the employment law experts.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

GoldenEye – who’s watching you?

We all love a good James Bond film – plenty of action, guns, spies, a gorgeous woman, and Bond comes out on top. But when this becomes your reality, minus the action, guns, and gorgeous women, who will come out on top?

GPS technology is becoming a common tool used by employers to keep tabs on their employees whereabouts. This aims to prevent employees from abusing their privilege of having use of a work vehicle, diverting from their destination, and falsifying timesheets. That brand new iPhone 5 given to you on your first day of work may have seemed like a generous gesture at the time. But when you realise your employer has been using it to track you, I would imagine you’d like to throw their generous gesture right back at them.

Why shouldn’t an employer track their employees? If their employees are where they say they are, and doing what they say they are doing, what’s the problem? Employer-friendly apps are in abundance. Beginning at the tempting price of ‘FREE’, these apps are advertised as perfect for tracking your friends, children and work colleagues. ‘Trackster’ ($2.59) is a popular choice, claiming it can “make a big difference to businesses” by increasing productivity. These GPS tracking apps can track an employee’s whereabouts, how long they have been there for, where they have been previously, and follow them while they travel. James Bond isn’t so unrealistic after all!  But with this incredible technology comes major issues of privacy, consent and reasonableness.

Should an employee have to know and consent to being ‘spied on’ by their employer? And if they do consent, where does the ‘spying’ stop? It is unreasonable for this tracking to be 24/7 surveillance.  Surely it should shut off as you leave the office at the end of the day, and resume upon your return the following morning. Yet none of the apps pride themselves in having this automatic capability yet. If your iPhone or Android is being tracked during work hours, then chances are your employer can check your whereabouts any time of the day or night. The old croaky call into work on a Friday morning because you have come down with something overnight will no longer suffice when your employer can log into their Bond technology and see you happened to be within a 30 meter radius of the local bar only 4 hours ago. Good luck explaining that one.

This leads into the issue of privacy. Surely it is none of your employers business where you were last night, whether it be a bar, gay strip club or another employee’s residence. This could lead to all sorts of other employment issues – discrimination, workplace bullying – don’t get me started! So the decision to ‘spy’ on employees could have adverse effects. In 2010 the Law Commission reviewed the law of privacy and considered the issue of surveillance in the workplace. Their report acknowledged the concern of the inequalities of power between employers and employees. The issue stated that “employees cannot be assumed to have freely consented to restrictions on their privacy, and workers need some legal protection of their privacy in order to redress the power imbalance”. However the Commission came to the conclusion that the existing law, in particular the duty of good faith contained in the Employment Relations Act 2000, was at present, adequate to deal with workplace surveillance issues.

To combat privacy issues, companies can issue policies so employees understand they shouldn’t have any expectation of privacy during work hours or when using a work vehicle. But this isn’t a guaranteed solution. What’s to stop an employee purposefully misplacing their smartphone, or accidentally leaving it at work? This would allow them some privacy and completely undermine the whole tracking regime. Ha! This Bond technology isn’t foolproof!

Or that’s what a Christchurch man thought until he was dismissed for serious misconduct after falsifying his timesheets. Mr Stuart was discovered by GPS technology fitted into his work vehicle when his supervisor became suspicious and requested their employer review the GPS records. This review revealed that often Mr Stuart’s work vehicle was parked at his residence well before he claimed to be finishing work each day. The Employment Relations Authority found that Mr Stuart was justifiably dismissed as he was employed in a position of trust, and falsifying timesheets was considered to be serious misconduct in the company’s Code of Conduct. This recent decision indicates the reality of GPS tracking in the workplace. Understandably employers want to maximise productivity, and there are employees out there willing take advantage of any situation.

Is GPS tracking the solution? Employers will love it – nothing will go unnoticed. Employees will hate it – nothing will go unnoticed. What is reasonable ‘spying’? We will have to wait with anticipation for this Bond sequel to play out.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Minimum wage on the climb!

Exciting news for all of you struggling to make ends meet – the government has proudly announced an increase in the minimum wage is set to take place from April 1st.  Woohoo! 25 cents more an hour!  This takes our minimum wage from $13.50 to $13.75 an hour.  That’s a $2 increase per day, and workers will earn around $10 more a week.  This is before tax.  Can our lowest paid workers afford to live off an income of $550 (pre-tax) a week?

There are thousands of real people, doing real work with real responsibilities in our communities such as caregivers, security guards and cleaners to name a few.  These people have families to feed and bills to pay, purely for survival.  But what if they wish to go on a holiday, pay for a child’s school camp or dabble in a bit of Wellington’s culture? Maybe for people in minimum responsibility jobs, some might view $13.75 as a fair representation of their efforts.  When making a comparison to the UK minimum wage of £6.19, our $13.75 doesn’t look so bad. But Australia dishes out a grand $15.95, or a minimum of $606.40 per week.  No wonder so many young Kiwis are heading over the ditch.

.

And the governments excuse for this pitiful increase? Labour Minister Simon Bridges claims our wage rates represent “a careful balance between protecting low paid workers and ensuring jobs are not lost as the economic recovery gains pace.”  Thus, we must consider reality. In a utopian world all employers would have the funds to comply with minimum wage requirements, no matter the economic situation. This seems to be the belief of writers of an independent report prepared for Service and Food workers union.  This report published two weeks ago identified $18.40 as a suitable ‘living wage’.  Wouldn’t this be amazing!  That’s an extra $186 per week – now that would be something to get excited about!  But in this economy, with job losses being a regular occurrence, this prospect is unfortunately out of reach.  Still, workers and employers need to stay positive.  25cents is better than nothing. And if recent trends are anything to go by, the minimum wage should continue its climb, taking you along for the ride.

And for all you employees on minimum wage, remember:

  • The harder you work, no matter what the pay, the more respect you will gain in and around the workplace;
  • A positive attitude goes a long way; and
  • Keep communication lines open between you and your employer.  If you are struggling to make ends meet, discuss your options openly.

Employers paying minimum wages, take note:

  • Most employees on minimum wage live from payday to payday.  If you want your employees to feel valued, offer them something special like concert tickets or a voucher for excellent performance.  Take a little time to show interest in your employees and keep them motivated.
  • If money is tight, simply praising employees on their performance creates a positive work environment.  
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Are We Killing Our Workers?

During one of the many, many, “How was your Christmas/ New Years/ isn’t this weather fantastic” chats that are par for the course in January, a friend muttered that she had the sneaky suspicion that work was getting in the way of her real life. I thought, you’ve got a point there, Sheryl*. Sadly, the New Zealand Government doesn’t agree with me.

Kiwis.. we think of ourselves as No. 8 wire innovators, Everest conquerers. We pride ourselves on our open-mindedness, our relaxed approach to life. Yet, in reality, we are dragging the chain behind the rest of the world when it comes to our work/life balance and the cracks are starting to show.

Everyone's favourite  Everest conqueror. Sir Edmund Hillary

Everyone’s favourite Everest conqueror. Sir Edmund Hillary

Despite advice from the powers that be (Aunty Helen and the UN), the New Zealand Government is sticking to its guns, refusing to introduce legislation to limit the number of hours the humble Kiwi can work per week. In doing so, we’re falling behind the rest of the world with workplaces that are stuck in the dark ages of arbitrary hours, set days and places, while others move towards flex-time (or less time) and a results-based approach.

On average we Kiwis work bloody hard, 1724 hours a year according to OECD figures. That’s 175 more hours than the Danes, 86 more than those in the UK and a whopping 380 than the Germans. While no one could accuse the Germans of being lazy, they’re sitting pretty with around 9 weeks more holiday than your average Kiwi.

100_pure_nz_brand_tops_international_survey_5254246064

So what’s it all in aid of? Health? Wealth? Happiness? There’s evidence a plenty to show that this isn’t the case. In fact, that ‘work hard play hard’ attitude can get us into hot water and we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to research to back it up.

You wouldn’t think it if you wandered onto New Zealand immigrations website. It lures off-shorers to our land of ‘easy living’ with “If you’re looking for a more balanced lifestyle, you’ll find New Zealand’s got the recipe just right.” Do we.. really?

A recent study in the journal PLoS ONE shows that people that work more than 11 hours a day have a more-than-doubled risk of a major depressive episode, compared with people who work the more-standard seven to eight hours a day.

drunk worker

Another from Otago University links long hours to alcohol addiction. The study found that those who worked a 50+ hour work week were three times more likely to take to the bottle.

The daily (and nightly) grind is taking a toll. A survey of nearly 1500 kiwis, released by Hudson Recruitment this week, showed that 41.6% of employees were feeling more stressed than a year ago and 77% were shouldering more responsibility and working longer hours.

And those findings join a host of others suggesting a link between clocking serious hours and heart disease, heart attacks, higher blood pressure, lower life expectancy.

sleep-deprivation_main

If that wasn’t enough reason for you to rethink burning the midnight oil at the office consider the added extras- sitting all day is linked to a higher likelihood of developing a chronic disease such as diabetes.

Lack of sleep is also a kicker and can lead (to name but a few) to decreased memory, increased weight gain, a higher chance of having a car accident, diabetes, irritability, serious cardiovascular health problems, and possibly cancer (no  biggy). According to The National Sleep Foundation we should be shooting for at least 7-9 hours. So get home, keep work out of the bedroom and get some decent shuteye.

We’re burning out our employees, the long hours+ill-health combination also means lost labour in the long-term and higher medical costs for employers, the government and you ( the tax-payer).

man-sleeping

But doesn’t working harder make you richer? Nope.. it turns out productivity fuels wealth, not hours worked. Hence why so many companies overseas are turning to flexible approaches (more on that next week).

While the hours=results mentality works for robots in a production line, surely we’ve moved on. Germany (the powerhouse of the EU) and their extra 9 weeks holiday proves this if nothing else.

In the corporate world, staying at work late amongst the underlings is almost a competitive sport; does it change the work output? Invariably, no. people can only pump out so much good work a day, outside of this is when mistakes occur. These mistakes can be dangerous. A recent study of hospital interns found that young doctors who worked longer shifts made almost 36 percent more serious mistakes, like giving the wrong dose or the wrong medicine altogether to patients.

businessman_on_the_beachBut why not just work hard, play hard? (Says the Government) To that I say, what use is the working if you don’t have the time or energy to do the playing? And where’s this work-life balance recipe you speak of?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the life of a sloth, but ask yourself.. is work getting in the way of your life?

10 hours plus.. it’s not healthy, it’s not making us wealthy.. go on workaholics, go home, have dinner with your family, sleep for eight hours, take that holiday… maybe one day we will be as powerful as the Germans.

** names have been changed to protect anonymity

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lessons from Lance

As we drag our slightly more tanned (and slightly less toned) bodies back into the office, the year stretches out in front of us and the cogs slowly start churning into gear.  New Years resolutions aren’t quite banished from our minds. In fact, it all seems quite do-able at this stage. You were at the end of your tether (and practically ran out  the office door) come Christmas. But after a few weeks of R&R (G&T’s, coronas & limes, left-over Christmas ham sandwiches) those little niggles aren’t quite so niggly, the inbox mountain is climb-able and office morale is at an all time high.

corona-beer-lime-squirt

The question is, how do we keep this up?  As an employer, how do you keep your team on an even keel? As an employee, how do you ensure you keep your eye on the prize without losing your integrity?

We could learn a thing or two from Lance Armstrong  and his doping denial/admission roller coaster , apparently the only news worth reporting in the post holiday media haze.

Lance-Armstrong-lying

If Lance had spent less time lying he might not be needing new artwork

Once the golden boy of racing, Lance has taken a spectacular tumble from glory and the implications spread far and wide. In the court of Oprah he has confessed to being a drug user, a bully, an ”arrogant prick”; but not a cheat.

As he sees it, the system made him do it, Lance was merely doing his best to level the playing field. What is remarkable is the parallels that can be drawn between Lance and your run of the mill, stock standard workplace bully. Blaming others, taking credit where its not due, claaaaasic bully moves. As for the system, when such behavior is ignored or disregarded by HR and management, it tends to serve as implicit acceptance of the behaviour.. the moral of the story, it’s not so different, problems need to be addressed at both the individual level and the systemic.

Aside from the bullying, most employment issues that come through our door could have been resolved by going back to the basics. Employment law isn’t rocket science, it is generally common sense with a healthy serving of understanding and compromise. Lance didn’t compromise; by launching defamation claims against anyone who tackled him he burned a lot of people and eventually he got burnt himself.

While Lance’s reputation lies in tatters that even Oprah hasn’t been able to sew back together we could all remember a few things that Lance forgot..

fiction1

Humor from down under, an Australian librarian sees the lighter side of the Lance debacle

Own your mistakes.. whether you cut a corner or just forget, in the workplace you will make mistakes aplenty.  It’s how you deal with it that matters. Time for another cliche.. honesty really is the best policy. If you face your mistakes quickly, honestly and with minimal fuss you might just avoid digging yourself into a Lance sized hole. If you cut corners and hope that no one will see you might slip below the radar once or twice but at some point it will come back to bite you.

Reputation is everything... be it in day to day life or in business your reputation is your brand, use it wisely, protect it, once you’ve lost it you may never get it back. Integrity matters.. winning is great, winning at all costs, not so great. The power of a brand relies on goodwill and name recognition earned over time.. while Lance has plenty of the former, even the Big O hasn’t managed to scrape back much of the latter from the general population, recent polls showing that the masses aren’t going to forgive or forget anytime soon.

798165-130116-armstrong-oprah

Even the big O couldn’t put Armstrong’s reputation back together again

Remember that old adage “there’s no I in team”.. there’s a reason for these cliques, darn it, they’re usually on the money. Think of the bigger picture- not just yourself. Try not to step on too many people as  you climb up that corporate ladder.

In more basic terms.. Just be nice to people– on your way up, on your way down, whether youre in a position of power or at the bottom of the heap. 

And here’s the biggy, the secret to work place harmony and lifelong happiness..

Don’t lie, as I said earlier, its not rocket science. In the highly connected digital world the truth has a sneaky way of coming out.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

California’s Next Top Lawyer..

Ahh reality TV, the fierce competition, the sweet victories and crushing blows. Tears, tantrums and humiliation… Sure, it’s entertaining (with the exception of the Ridge saga), but is it the best way to hire employees?

A Californian Law firm seems to think so, with eager young legal beagles auditioning to be the “Next Top Associate.” The recruitment process (see ad below) brings the budding NTA’s together, armed with laptops and pits potential employee on employee. Assignments are dished out and one young hopeful is eliminated each day for two weeks until one remains. The last man (or woman) standing will … (cue Ryan Seacrest) Have what it takes to be Mellen Law Firm’s Next Top Associate. A Hunger Games-esque fight to the (metaphoric) death.

If you saw a job advertisement that suggested you audition for a professional position as if you were a contestant on a reality show would you? How much does this say about the slim pickings job market in the USA.. or here for that matter?

“It’s brutal, but everyone knows it’s going to be brutal, so nobody’s feelings are hurt” says Matt Mellen, the firms namesake and serial lover of reality television. It’s not all bad though- the applicants get paid for the pleasure, around  $25 NZD an hour, and in doing so, gain litigation experience in a short, sharp blast. It also “perks up” existing employees with the cold hard realisation that it is a dog-eat-dog world out there and the competition for jobs is fierce.

Sure, competition is healthy in the right dose. It can drive results and prevent a worker from reverting to sloth-mode, where just enough that needs to be done, is done, no more no less. But depending on your workplace you’re likely to have a mixture of personalities. Those who hide away from competition and those who thrive on it.  A seemingly innocent office sweepstake or game of monopoly can turn into all out war for those with the competitive streak. While competition in the right quantity is beneficial, too much can turn toxic. By pitting employee on employee, bullying can emerge. Watch this space, we have a few yarns on bullying up our sleeve.

So while debate rages in the twittersphere as to whether New Zealand does, in fact, have talent (still up in the air), the Ridge novelty fades and facebook groups are formed for the sole purpose of expressing a desire to hit Thomas from My Kitchen Rules with a frying pan; we now are being asked to fight tooth and nail for the privilege of a job.

One wonders whether maybe, just maybe, the obsession with competition based reality shows has gone too far.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,