RSE Employer update
12 December 2022
Further media coverage of the RSE scheme
As some of you may have seen in the media today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has released its latest report on RSE scheme performance. In this report, Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner, Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo has commented that there have been instances of human rights breaches and behaviour akin to modern slavery.
These claims follow similar reports earlier in the year. These have been investigated by the Labour Inspectorate, which did not find any breaches of minimum employment standards or RSE scheme standards.
The RSE scheme is a partnership that is invaluable to both industry and the nine Pacific nations involved. It has been successfully providing significant social and economic benefits to the Pacific and New Zealand for more than 15 years.
The horticulture and viticulture industries have zero tolerance for mistreatment of any employees or breaches of employment standards.
As we all know, RSE employers must be accredited by the New Zealand Government and meet Government standards around pay, deductions, accommodation, wellbeing and health and safety. Employers are regularly audited by Labour Inspectorates.
The horticulture and viticulture industries are committed to the continual improvement of the RSE scheme. We are taking an active role in the Government’s review of the RSE scheme that is currently underway. We want to see improvements and will continue to work with the Pacific nations, the Government and unions through the review to make the scheme better.
Over the past two months more than 200 growers and employers attended joint industry and MBIE workshops across New Zealand, to provide feedback to the New Zealand Government on the review process.
Industry representatives will continue to work hard to ensure the outcomes of the review deliver for both New Zealand employers and the Pacific, and that workers’ rights and interests are protected.
It is important that the different Pacific Nations’ points of view are heard and reflected in the review.
Anyone who has concerns around poor treatment of any staff is strongly encouraged to contact their Labour Inspectorate immediately or call the MBIE call centre on 0800 20 90 20.
We will continue to communicate about any Government changes as soon as we are made aware of them.
Samoa – December and January flights
Thanks to those RSE employers who responded to their Immigration New Zealand Relationship Manager and / or Meredith Ryan confirming numbers for January – March 2023.
Please see the below statement from Samoa Liaison Officer, Helen Uiese on upcoming flights:
‘Please be advised the [Samoan] Cabinet has approved travel for RSE flights, December and January, which included the flight on 3 December.
‘We may need to now look at sending February and March flights given the dates of public and commission holidays.’
Samoa – Labour sending unit update
Please see the below communication from Lemalu Leilua, Assistant CEO, LEEP, MCIL:
‘We now have three RSE support officers on board. Two of them will assist Gaulua with the recruitment, collecting visa documents and mobilising RSE teams, and one will be the Training Coordinator for RSE.
‘The two RSE support officers are:
‘You will be seeing their emails on our communications from now on.
‘Lastly, we thank MBIE and the New Zealand Government for their continued support of the LEEP Division. Much appreciated.’
Fair Pay Agreement dashboard
The Fair Pay Agreement (FPA) dashboard system went live on 1 December 2022.
The FPA dashboard provides an overview of all applications lodged with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to initiate FPA bargaining, as well as the progress of these applications through the FPA system. Now the system is live, eligible unions can apply to the MBIE chief executive for approval to negotiate a FPA for an industry or occupation.
MBIE has published employer and employee guides (see links below) to help with understanding. These guides have been produced in several languages. If you would like them to be translated into other languages, please let HortNZ know, and we will ask MBIE.
More information about FPAs can be found on the Employment New Zealand website.
A second set of regulations will be published in 2023. We will keep you informed via this newsletter as more information on FPAs is released.
Instructions on PickNZ
The PickNZ job board allows RSE employers advertise spare RSE workers for joint ATRs, or to search for RSE workers when they are short. It also facilitates sharing and allows RSE employers to contact each other with expressions of interest.
- Register as an employer on PickNZ’s Job Board. ‘How to’ here.
- Once registered, email email@example.com to advise of your registration as an employer on PickNZ and that you would like to be given RSE PickNZ membership.
- PickNZ will approve your membership to this account and let you know when it is ready.
- Check out this video tutorial and guide for posting and applying for RSEs
- When ‘listing’ RSEs for joints / sharing, you must enter the category as ‘RSE (Members Only)’ and the job type also as ‘RSE (Members Only).
List and apply for the sharing of RSE workers.