05 February 2004
Brash gets it wrong on bereavement leave: CTU calls for retraction and apology
“I am disgusted that Don Brash is urging employers to discriminate against Maori workers when he clearly hasn’t even read the Holidays Act,” Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.
He was commenting on Dr Brash’s statement that he would not employ a Maori worker because the new Holidays Act “gives Maori unlimited tangi leave”.
“As a reading of the Act would make clear the Holidays Act 2003 gives no specific rights to Maori workers in respect of bereavement leave,” Ross Wilson said. “All workers are entitled to three days leave in respect of a close family member (as defined).
“One day’s leave is available for other than close family members if the employer accepts, for example, that the employee is involved in the ceremonies around a person’s death or has any cultural responsibilities he or she has to fulfil.
“It is totally incorrect for Dr Brash to claim that the Act ‘gives Maori unlimited tangi leave’ and as a member of the Parliament which passed the Act only a few weeks ago he should know that.
“It is irresponsible and divisive for Dr Brash to try and whip up public reaction against Maori workers,” Ross Wilson said. “It is either racist or incompetent for him to do so on the basis of a legal provision which doesn’t exist.
“Dr Brash’s comments have the potential to be damaging for Maori workers and the CTU calls on him to immediately retract the comments and apologise.”