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RSE Redeployment Opportunities

Because of COVID-19 there are many RSE workers stranded in New Zealand. Right now they're not able to return home because of the closed boarders.

There are going to be opportunities for these workers to get work with other employers while they're in New Zealand.

So that RSE workers are where they are needed most by accredited Employers, accredited Employers can deploy workers to other accredited Employers. Or make a request for RSE workers from fellow accredited Employers.

Background

The Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme (RSE) was launched in 2007. It's about ensuring our horticulture and winegrowing sectors have the workforce required to carry out planting, maintenance, harvesting and packing work each season.

The number of staff needed has grown from an initial 4800 to 14,400 in 2020.

In this time the scheme has been developed by industry and government into a mature well- functioning programme with benefits for all parties concerned but in particularly for the employees, the employers and their communities.

The cornerstone of this policy is that every effort is made to fill jobs with New Zealanders.

Because of COVID-19 there are many RSE workers stranded in New Zealand. Right now they're not able to return home because of the closed boarders.

So that RSE workers are where they are needed most by accredited Employers, accredited Employers can deploy workers to other accredited Employers. Or make a request for RSE workers from fellow accredited Employers.

Employer responsibilities when providing work for RSE workers

All New Zealand employment laws continue to apply, including health and safety obligations and the Holidays Act. This means:

  • Provide a safe working environment
  • Pay at least the minimum wage to all your staff.
  • The RSE staff should not be paid less than the agreed wage with their existing RSE employer.
  • There should not be any illegal workers on your site
  • Comply with the request from the RSE employer who remains responsible for the RSE workers

Pastoral care responsibilities

A worker’s existing RSE employer is still responsible for the pastoral care of an RSE worker under Immigration Instructions WH1.5 Recognised Seasonal Employer. This includes making available appropriate pastoral care including food and clothing and access to health services and suitable accommodation at a reasonable cost during the period of the worker's RSE Limited visa. If the employer does not own the accommodation, the employer is still responsible for ensuring the accommodation meets minimum standards and is appropriately maintained so that workers are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the accommodation. Prior to use, the accommodation needs to be accepted by MBIE Labour Inspectors as being suitable under the RSE programme.

Employers of RSE workers must provide full details of how they plan to address the following pastoral care, and health and safety requirements:

  • transportation to and from the port of arrival and departure;
  • an induction programme;
  • suitable accommodation;
  • transportation to and from the worksite(s);
  • access to personal banking;
  • access to lawful and reputable remittance services;
  • access to acceptable medical insurance;
  • provision of personal protective equipment;
  • provision of onsite facilities (toilets, hand washing, first aid, shelter, fresh drinking water); and necessary language translation, e.g. for health and safety purposes; and
  • opportunity for recreation and religious observance.

The original RSE accredited employer will always remain the employer and will retain all the employer responsibilities including, wage payment. RSE employee's will work under a contract for service between their RSE employer and another employer party.