A bill has been introduced to Parliament which seeks to extend the time available to raise a personal grievance that involves allegations of sexual harassment from 90 days to 12 months. Introduced by Labour MP Deborah Russell in October 2021 the Employment Relations (Extended Time for Personal Grievance for Sexual Harassment) Amendment Bill (the Bill) has passed its first reading and is now being considered by the Education and Workforce Committee.

The Bill recognises coming forward to report sexual harassment can be difficult, and it is common for victims of sexual harassment to wait a long time before coming forward, if at all. For a person who has been the subject of sexual harassment, an arbitrary deadline of 90 days may not be long enough as it can take people some time to consider what has occurred and feel safe to raise it with others. The current 90 day deadline means victims of workplace sexual harassment are less likely to formally raise concerns about the behaviour of colleagues.

The purpose of this Bill is to improve the personal grievance process for victims of workplace sexual harassment by allowing them sufficient time to consider what has happened to them before deciding to come forward. Submissions can be made to the Education and Workforce Committee until 15 July 2022.

You can read the Bill here: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_116380/employment-relations-extended-time-for-personal-grievance