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Let's legislate a wage increase

Legislating to increase pay packets - brilliant! What a winner!

Mon, 13 Sep 2004

Let's legislate a wage increase

Wage and price freezes aren't nearly as enjoyable as legislating wage increases. The only thing they have in common is that neither take into account the real world of business in a competitive environment.

How to increase wages? Well, you could use the Holidays Act to increase the cost of every job in the land overnight - no need to wait for an increase in productivity; no need to consider the ability of businesses to pay.

Hardly anyone would criticise it. Journalists are all employees - they're unlikely to bag it. Maybe an economist or two might bleat about the effect on the economy of a wage increase without any productivity increase...but who listens to them?

Employers might squeal, but you could always accuse them of moaning or being greedy - that should shut them up.

You'd have to show a bit of good faith and consult them of course, but that's easy too - put a press release on a website that nobody can find, advising they have eight days to get a submission in. And if you make the legislation as complicated as you can, the submissions won't seem to make much sense either and can be safely ignored.

How would you do it? Simple - just pass a law making employers pay more for holidays and sick leave. Fiddle with the formula that must be used for calculating such leave; puff it out a bit by adding in some extras, and there you have it - fatter pay packets for everyone!

Of course your formulas might get a bit complicated and might cause more difficulties later on, but that's tomorrow's problem...

Legislating to increase pay packets - brilliant! What a winner! (until the costs come in China anyone?)

The Holidays Amendment Bill will increase wage costs for every business. The impact will be felt in slower company growth, less growth in the economy, lower job growth and more investment in plant and machinery rather than people. For more information see


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