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Five weeks holidays just a dream for most

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Five weeks holidays just a dream for most

One employer is offering free air tickets to Australia to staff instead of an extra week's holiday entitlement next year, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) reports.

With annual holiday leave entitlements set to rise to four weeks in 2007 for everyone, EMA has just run a survey to find out how many employers plan to extend holidays to five weeks for those staff already on four weeks.

"62 per cent of businesses have no plans to top up holidays for staff with another week's holiday," said David Lowe, Employment Services Manager for EMA (Northern).

"But the employer offering free travel to Australia is taking a chance staff might not come back!

"Over 1100 businesses surveyed show employees on four weeks that may be hoping for a further week off are likely to be disappointed.

"In addition, 23 per cent of businesses have yet to decide what they'll do though we expect them to follow the majority.

"There are wide variations on how the remaining 15 per cent of employers propose to make some adjustments around the extra week's leave. Some say they will use it to recognise long service with others making one-off payments instead of time off.

"Employers need to decide on their plans early as they are required to accrue this year for holiday entitlements taken up next year.

"Employment agreements thought likely to force many employers to offer five weeks holiday seem unfounded; only three per cent of employers face such an issue with a further eight per cent unsure because of ambiguity in their employment agreements.

"A union claim for five week's holiday also seems to have flopped with only 1.6 per cent of businesses surveyed indicating they had agreed to it, or to pay an equivalent amount.

"As soon as they decide what they will do, employers should tell their staff. The longer staff can dream of the beach they will head for on their extra week off, the bigger the disappointment."


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