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Employment Court ruling sensible, practical

Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

Employment Court ruling sensible, practical

In the first case brought to clarify the Holidays Act, the Employment Court has ruled in favour of the preferences of those operating a workplace over the uncertainties and ambiguity of the new law.

The Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) applauded the common sense of the Employment Court's ruling.

Today's decision in the Heinz Wattie case is no idle matter, said David Lowe, EMA's Manager of Employment Relations.

"It represents an important precedent as it opens up the opportunity for employers and employees to keep their existing shifts and rosters and ability to plan around public holiday periods with certainty.

"In the Heinz Wattie case the ambiguities of the new Holidays Act threatened to upset workplace conditions that the employer, the union, and employees were all happy with. But workplace operations had been changed to comply with the Holidays Act 2004.

"With the ruling employers won't incur the risk of paying extra penal rates, and employees won't face the inconvenience of a change to their hours of work.

"The case demonstrates again that the new Holidays Act is at least as complicated as its predecessor. It appears the Court is taking to heart the Court of Appeal's pragmatic approach in the Three Foot Six case concerning a contractor working on The Lord of the Rings set.

"Each workplace has its own way of doing things and can never be a clone of others, so we welcome the recognition by the Court that business operations must be practical for everyone involved."


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