Employee regulation a double-edged sword for businesses

Monday 15 April 2013, 1:11PM
By Statistics New Zealand

One in 10 businesses were helped by employee regulation in 2012, compared with 1 in 5 that were hindered, Statistics New Zealand said today. Employees and customers were central to how businesses responded to different regulations.

"All businesses we surveyed employed staff, so it’s not hard to see why they were affected by these types of regulations. What’s interesting is how businesses were affected, especially since they found it hard to quantify actual costs," business performance manager Hamish Hill said. Employee regulation covers guidelines about pay, leave, and working conditions.

While employee regulation limited performance for some businesses, other types of regulations, such as those to do with workplace safety, helped them grow. "Businesses spend a lot of time and resource complying with regulation, but they can see the benefit of it," Mr Hill said.

"The whole economy can benefit by having a more educated workforce from businesses who up-skill their employees in response to regulation." Forty-one percent of businesses did this in 2012 – once again showing that people are key.

Customers are also important, as 80 percent of businesses with increased compliance costs were willing to absorb them. "In an environment where costs from a variety of sources are rising, businesses want to keep their prices down and their customers happy," Mr Hill said.

The Business Operations Survey: 2012 collected a wide range of information from businesses with six or more employees. It also collected information on the use of information and communication technology, as well as on a broad range of other business activities.

For detailed tables see Business Operations Survey: 2012.