7/04/2021·2 mins to read

‘Vulnerable employee’ restructuring protections to extend to security workers

Following a recommendation from the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, the Governor-General recently made an Order in Council (Order) extending the protections provided under Part 6A of the Employment Relations Act 2000 (Act) (continuity of employment if employees’ work affected by restructuring) to employees who provide services in the security sector. This recommendation followed E tū’s original application in July 2019 to extend the protections under Part 6A to “security officers”.

The Minister stated that the security industry is “highly competitive and prone to restructuring”, and that the Order will “lead to an industry that competes on service quality, which helps the companies already offering good conditions. The Order defines “services in the security sector” as:

  • guarding real or personal property belonging to another person;
  • monitoring in real time, from any part of a premises, images from a camera or similar device on the same premises;
  • services provided by a crowd controller employee (as defined in section 19 of the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act 2010);
  • escort duty and courtroom custodial duty as those terms are defined in section 3 of the Corrections Act 2004;
  • mobile security patrols: and
  • collecting cash from any premises.

Implications for your organisation

The protections in Part 6A of the Act will apply to an employee providing the specified types of security services if, as a result of a proposed sale or transfer of a business, or insourcing/outsourcing of security services:

  • the employee will no longer be required by the employee's employer to perform the work performed by the employee; and
  • the work performed by the employee (or work that is substantially similar) is to be performed by or on behalf of another person.

Such protections include having the right to elect to transfer to the other person (ie the new employer) on the same terms and conditions of employment.

Organisations will need to consider the implications of these additional protections if they are currently involved in, or are considering, the sale or purchase of a business that employs or engages individuals for the provision of security services (as defined under the Order), or are considering reviewing their existing contractual arrangements (such as the insourcing or outsourcing of security services).

The Order comes into force on 1 July 2021, and includes some specific transitional provisions. For example:

  • any insourcing arrangement that takes effect as a result of the termination or expiry of an agreement before 23 August 2021; or
  • any sale or transfer of a business that takes effect as a result of an agreement entered into before 1 July 2021,

will be unaffected by the Order.

Going forward

This is the first time the Minister has recommended that the Governor General exercise the statutory power to amend Schedule 1A to add categories of vulnerable employees. It will be interesting to see whether this amendment gives rise to any further amendments to Schedule 1A of the Act, to extend protections to additional categories of employees.

Get in touch

Please get in touch with our contacts if you have any questions about the Order and how it may impact your organisation.

See the Order here.


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