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Government too slow on Holidays Act

10 September 2004

Government too slow on Holidays Act

The Government has been too slow to fix the Holidays Act and its Clayton's fix-it attempt won't work, says Business NZ.

Business NZ blew the whistle on the Act before Queen's Birthday Weekend following problems in workplaces on Easter weekend and Anzac Day. It provided examples of those problems to the Labour Minister in June.

"Not only has the Government been too slow off the mark in coming up with a Bill, it has chosen not to deal with the key issue," Mr Carlaw said.

The select committee yesterday called for submissions on the Bill, with a closing date of next Friday.

"An eight-day period for seeking and receiving written submissions suggests it has something to hide, and will ensure the Bill suffers from hasty process, just as the Act itself did.

"The key problem with the Act is the concept of 'relevant daily pay' - a concept hastily inserted late in the piece by the select committee without any consultation whatever. It changes the base rate for calculating holiday and sick pay to include a host of extra payments, hugely inflating the amount payable for holidays and sick leave.

"But the Bill doesn't even address the issue of relevant daily pay. Nor does it address greatly magnified compliance costs caused by the Act, with more to come from the 'Mondayising' provisions waiting like a costly time bomb to hit employers at Christmas and New Year.

"The Government has claimed the Bill is only meant to fix the 'unintended consequences' of the Holidays Act but the only real unintended consequence is the Government's embarrassment in now trying to backtrack on some of the mischief the Act has caused.

"If the law prevents employers from paying more to those working than those not working for whatever reason, some employees will take advantage. More bureaucracy in the workplace won't deliver more jobs, or in the long run, better paying ones," Mr Carlaw said.

Information on problems with HOLIDAYS legislation is on www.businessnz.org.nz

ENDS

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