Balancing security and flexibility essential in Future of Work

Flexible work arrangements can improve work/life balance and make transitions in working life easier, but insecurity in work and income can be stressful and ultimately detrimental to health and family.

The second of the Future of Work Commission’s discussion papers – Security of Income and Work – asks how New Zealand can tackle this dilemma.

Commission chair Grant Robertson says stable work with regular and decent pay has been the foundation of a secure and healthy life for generations of New Zealanders.

“Many people are enjoying flexible work arrangements such as contracting or self-employment, but others are feeling the sharp end of insecurity created by increased casual work and the declining value of wages.

“This paper – co-authored by MPs Iain Lees-Galloway and Carmel Sepuloni – raises some important questions about how the New Zealand workforce can adapt to the changing nature of work.”

Iain Lees-Galloway says “workers” include self-employed people, small businesses owners, contractors, at-home carers and volunteers. Modern employment policies need to reflect that.

“Income security remains important for everyone who works. People deserve to have reliable incomes that meet their needs. With more people facing irregular work and pay, there is a need to look again at how to support income and employment security. There is a range of options to investigate including ideas like the ‘flexicurity’ system in Denmark and stronger provisions for collective bargaining.”

Carmel Sepuloni says the impact of work insecurity can be felt more keenly by some groups in society such as women, Māori, Pasifika, and younger and older workers.

“Ensuring these burdens are spread fairly will be a huge challenge. Everyone should be encouraged to reach their full potential. And to help New Zealand reach its potential, we must eliminate discrimination against older workers while providing incentives to take on young workers,” Carmel Sepuloni says.

The full paper is available here.

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