NEW ZEALAND - Government moves to make KiwiSaver "fairer" have been criticised by a business group in New Zealand.
Labour minister Trevor Mallard said this would address the situation that had seen some employees paying their employer's contribution to their KiwiSaver account out of their own salary.
"I have had reports of employers paying KiwiSaver and non-KiwiSaver members differently, and the government intends to clearly specify that this sort of behaviour will be illegal," Mallard said.
"Many employers are embracing KiwiSaver and this is to be commended. However, there is no way that it is fair for one employee to be paid less each week in their take home pay than an employee doing the same tasks, simply because they choose to be in KiwiSaver and the other employee doesn't.
"This is particularly an issue for employees on 'total remuneration' packages, which some employers have insisted include the employer's 1% compulsory contribution to KiwiSaver."
Mallard said it would also be unlawful to offer non-KiwiSaver members a bigger pay rise than KiwiSaver members.
However, the Employers and Manufacturers Association (AMA) Northern, an organisation representing business, said Mallard had shown a lack of understanding of how business operated.
David Lowe, employment services manager for EMA (Northern), said: "Employers have irreversibly acted on the KiwiSaver legislation as it was passed but they will now start doing things differently for new employees," Lowe said.
"New staff will have Mr Mallard to blame for not getting benefits others get. For example, workplaces where employers have already contributed 4% to their employees KiwiSaver accounts may well not do that for new staff.
"Employers have been reviewing their policies in the wake of KiwiSaver to ensure equity amongst all staff; shifting the goal posts now reintroduces inequity."
Lowe said the plan would treat KiwiSaver as something apart from all other forms of pay, including non-KiwiSaver superannuation schemes.
He said: "All sorts of benefits like cars are paid to employees either in kind or cash along with a wage or salary. It's normal to ensure the total value of all pay and benefits are reflected in the total remuneration package."
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