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Holidays Act Confusion

21 December 2004 PR 232/04
Holidays Act Confusion

Federated Farmers is reminding employers of their obligations under the Holidays Act 2004 as the Christmas break draws near.

Federated Farmers’ free phone has been running hot as members seek clarification about how changes to the Holidays Act will affect them over the Christmas and New Year break.

“Despite ongoing efforts to explain the Act since it came into force in April, people are still struggling to make sense of it. This Christmas period, all four public holidays fall on weekends, making this convoluted law even more difficult for employers to understand,” said Charlie Pedersen, Vice President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

“It’s not just the compliance costs associated with the Holidays Act that are a problem – it’s also the confusion cost which is causing stress in an already stressful time.

“Farming is not a job you can walk away from – you’re always on call - cows need to be milked, harvests are underway, stock needs to be checked and fed, and a public holiday doesn’t stop this,” said Mr Pedersen.

- All staff (including casuals) must be paid time and a half for working on a public holiday.
- All staff who would normally work on the day a public holiday falls are eligible for that day off as a paid holiday. If they do work, they are eligible for an alternate day off as well.
- Public holidays falling on Saturday and Sunday that your employee normally works remain on those weekend days.
- For Christmas and New Year the public holidays that fall on weekends that your employee would normally not work will shift to a week day. Saturdays shift to the next Monday, and Sundays shift to the next Tuesday.
- For those employees who just work on Saturdays, the Saturday will remain a public Holiday, and the Sunday holidays (Boxing day and 2 January) will move to the following Tuesday. In other words, don’t give a three day weekend thinking you’ve covered your obligation.

“The Holidays Act considerably increases costs for employers. Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and the two New Year statutory holidays falling on weekends adds to these costs. It is important that farmers get it right as penalties for Holidays Act breaches are between $5000 and $10,000,” concluded Mr Pedersen.


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