What do employers need to know about FPAs?

Fair Pay Agreements represent the biggest step forward for workers' rights in over 30 years.

As society continues to shift, we must ensure our relationship with work moves with the times. FPAs are the beginning of a new era for work in the 21st century.

Everyone has questions about how the new FPAs mechanisms will work, including employers.

We asked a group of workers what they thought decision makers and bosses needed to know about Fair Pay Agreements.

Henry works in fast-food in Wellington, and is the main breadwinner for his family. He’s shared his story with the Minister and at select committee hearings. In his view, not much will change for employers, “If they’re running a good workplace then there shouldn’t be much change. It’s about setting basic standards of employment that produce productive and safe working environments for their employees.”

Workplace safety matters to him because he wants others to understand “what it’s really like to work in some of these industries; about the long hours, the underpay, the lack of overtime work, and how it affects workers lives and their family lives…how it produces unhappy, unhealthy environments for workers, and this is something we shouldn’t tolerate in our environment.”

Fast-food worker Alister is deeply invested in the equality Fair Pay Agreements will bring to his sector. “For me, being a disabled person, I think they mean equality and accountability for employers.” His request for business owners is frank, “you need to be equitable to all parties involved but also you need to join the conversation or it’s not going to go your way.”

Housekeeper Kayla, who is working to support herself while she completes a marketing degree, has a rational approach to the business impact of FPAs.

“You’re not going to have a high employee turnover when you’re paying your employees well. Employee satisfaction is a huge part of a business and if you want to be able to retain your employees and you want your employees to have a good attitude towards the customers, the customers are going to see that, the customers are going to respect that, you’re going to have good lifetime value with your customers, and it’s going to profit your business in the end.

“So yes, FPAs might sound scary because “Oh No! We’re gonna pay our workers more”, but it’s going to benefit you, the business, in the long run.”

Everyone we talked to spoke about survival as a hospo worker. Sawyer wanted to remind employers about the power imbalance that is inherent in most people’s working lives. They said “I think I just want them to know that while they are in charge of us, they’re not above us. We’re on the same plain, they just happen to have some more responsibilities.

“I just think that people should get paid enough to be able live their life rather than live to survive.”

Tausaga, a fast-food worker from Auckland, summed up the gap, “It goes both ways. If you want to improve your sales and everything, help us get what we need in order for us to give you what you want.”

Everyone we spoke had a desire to maintain high standards at work. They all expressed care for their customers and their business. That’s what employers need to know, their staff care and are there for the right reasons… they just want a little care back.