With funding from the sponsors of the Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellowships in Public Policy.
Laura Berntsen serves as Domestic Policy Advisor for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (Democrat-Oregon). Laura develops national public policy in the fields of welfare, unemployment insurance, child welfare, child care, education and workforce development. Prior to joining Finance Committee staff, Laura worked in Sen. Wyden’s personal office from 2011 to 2013 and in the House of Representatives for Rep. Jim McDermott (Democrat-Washington) from 2006 to 2011. Laura holds a Master of Arts from Georgetown University and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington.
Laura is being hosted on her Axford Fellowship by Treasury.
New Zealand, like other countries across the globe, is grappling with the immense forces of technological change and globalisation. These disruptive forces, coupled with weakened labour institutions and changes in government regulations, have profoundly affected the nature of work and the way income is distributed globally and locally. In some cases, this has led to a breakdown of the traditional employer–employee model and increased engagement in “non-standard forms of employment”.
In many ways, New Zealand’s system of protections and benefits is well suited for managing some of the biggest challenges countries are confronting as they adjust to and plan for changes in the nature of work. Crucial benefits like health coverage, superannuation, parental leave, unemployment assistance and financial assistance for raising children and paying for childcare do not require a worker to have – or to have lost – traditional, full-time employment.
Despite the system’s strengths, those in non-standard employment often face substantial obstacles in achieving social and economic well-being, and the data available may mask even more significant issues. The challenge facing New Zealand lawmakers is the need to develop and implement policies that address existing problems and buffer the workforce against future challenges without jeopardising areas in which New Zealand is performing well. This report explores non-standard employment in New Zealand and makes recommendations on how to promote a labour market ecosystem that allows all workers to get ahead.
Download the full report in PDF format here: The Changing Nature of Work: Strengths and Shortcomings of New Zealand’s Benefits and Protections for Workers in Non-Standard Employment