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Flexibility Eroded By Holidays Bill

28 November 2003
PR 240/2003
Flexibility eroded by Holidays Bill

Select committee support for four week's annual leave is yet another example of on-farm working relations being constrained by a government that thinks it knows best for employees, rather than the employees themselves, said Charlie Pedersen, Vice President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

"We all need time away from work to rest and spend time with family, but the Holidays Bill does little to help farm employers who have to interpret and apply the legislation in a unique employment setting. Nor does it do anything to help aspiring farm owners get the skills and capital to achieve their dreams," he said.

"The reality is that many of our members surveyed - including employees - want to retain the flexibility to set up arrangements that best suit the parties to the arrangement," Mr Pedersen said.

The transport and industrial relations committee this week presented its report on the bill to Parliament. The report backs the statutory minimum leave entitlement rising from its current three weeks.

"Federated Farmers emphasised in a submission to the committee that an extra week's leave will cost the average farmer or sharemilker $1000 for each employee," Mr Pedersen said.

"Farmers are fed up being whacked by extra taxes, levies, charges and costs by this government.

"The $1000 a week will unfortunately have to be taken from other areas of the labour package such as training, staff accommodation improvements, or wage increases" said Mr Pedersen

However farmers would be broadly comfortable with other parts of the select committee report on the bill.

"One positive of the impending law change is it will give an employee sick leave in the first six months of a new job," he said


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