The DomPost editorial this morning claims an "inherent unfairness in drug test bill."
It does so on the assumption that employers with jobs that don't have "obvious health and safety implications" may require a beneficiary to pass a test. Therefore beneficiaries will be subject to an "invasive and deeply personal procedure that most people in the workforce never have to face."
I think the writer is being over-imaginative.
The Ministry of Labour advises:
"If an employment agreement gives an employer the right to require
employees to undergo drug testing then, provided the provision in the
agreement is reasonable and does not contravene the protections
contained in any relevant laws, it is more likely that the employer will
be able to require drug testing. Similarly, it will be difficult for an
employer to introduce drug testing if that right is not contained in
the relevant employment agreement, unless the employee gives the
employer informed consent."
Beneficiaries will be covered by the same laws.
Those opposed to welfare reform or National in general are trying very hard to find fault with the legislation aimed at stopping people using drugs to avoid work.
The other problem the new law addresses is the employer bias against beneficiaries who they consider, from experience, won't be drug free, so won't even interview them or list jobs with WINZ. In the past, when employers have drug-tested beneficiaries they carried the cost, pass or fail. Now the cost of a failed test will fall on the beneficiary.
But it should be made clear in the legislation that drug tests can only be required when they are standard practice for that employer.
Samizdata quote of the day
18 minutes ago