Keep it Decent: Guidelines for Safe and Respectful Workplaces

Launching on Thursday 17 November, the Keep it Decent: Guidelines for Safe and Respectful Workplaces are an initiative by Hanga-Aro-Rau and Waihanga Ara Rau Workforce Development Councils. These guidelines have been developed to provide practical actions for trade employers and managers to improve workplace culture for women who are traditionally marginalised at work.

Hanga-Aro-Rau and Waihanga Ara Rau have the shared goal of supporting women in trades to thrive in fulfilling and sustainable careers, through this set of guidelines. The guidelines, and implementation booklet, are an answer to a need that exists within the trade industry. These tools provide practical steps for Employers to take to ensure women are safe in the workplace from sexual harassment and bullying.

Philip Aldridge, CE of Waihanga Ara Rau says, “We are committed to supporting everyone in the trades to feel safe and respected at work. The industry asked us for support to identify practical actions they could take to improve workplace culture with regards to bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment and these guidelines are the first of many steps toward addressing this change.”

Industry and trade organisations being asked to pledge to Keep It Decent. By keeping it decent, it creates workplaces where anyone can thrive and bring out their best.

Let’s Keep it Decent in the trade industry:

  • Baseline, being a good person: We are kind, fair, honest, and constructive.
  • Calling it out. We shut down and report all kinds of harassment. There is no place for racist, sexist, homophobic behaviour in our industry. Victimisation of any person who raises a complaint is unlawful.
  • Bringing out the best in others. We are open to – and respectful of – viewpoints and perspectives that differ from our own. Our differences don’t divide us. They make us better.
  • High five the good stuff. We all lead by showing good examples.

“These guidelines set out a baseline of what is expected from everyone in our industries to make sure we create workplace cultures where everyone is welcome. Industry wide, we are making this commitment to promote inclusion and diversity, observe fair employment practices, and not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” says Samantha McNaughton, Deputy CE of Hanga-Aro-Rau.

  • 30 per cent of people working in construction in the last five years have experienced at least one form of sexual harassment.
  • 31 per cent of people working in the construction sector in the last five years have experienced at least one racial harassment behaviour.
  • For 69 per cent of workers subjected to harassment or bullying, the perpetrator was someone in a more senior position.
  • 17 per cent of people working in the construction sector have ‘OFTEN’ or ‘ALWAYS’ experienced a least one workplace bullying behaviour in the last 12 months,
  • Within the construction sector, 73 per cent of the gender who were identified as perpetrators of bullying were men.

“We need to shift the narrative from blame and fear to change and respect. From talk to action. These guidelines are a practical toolkit to enable everyone from the big companies with HR departments down to the ‘Man with a Van’ and his small team, to skill up and move forward to ensure a safe and respectful workplace for all employees”.

The development of the Guidelines is supported by the Tertiary Education Commission and was developed in consultation with our trade industry and community partners as well as women in trade stakeholder groups. The guidelines are a key deliverable of the Industry Equity Project 2022.

Further resources for supporting women in trades, including an Online Toolkit and Equity Directory, are available here: