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Evidence needed for good law

Media release

24 March 2008


Evidence needed for good law

 

Evidence is needed for sound law-making, says Business NZ.

Commenting on proposals to legislate for meal and rest breaks and breastfeeding in the workplace, Business NZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said employers were naturally in favour of adequate meal and rest breaks and provision for breastfeeding mothers but hadn’t seen any evidence that there was in fact a problem that required a new law.

“This is a very uncontroversial matter - in thousands of workplaces across the country employers and employees make sensible agreements in their mutual interests without having written rules.  Inflexible rules only advantage unions, not employees or workplaces 

“We are keen on evidence-based law, because without evidence of actual problems there is the danger of getting prescriptive rules that make things worse.

“Before the Government moves ahead with this, it should undertake objective research on the issue to ascertain if there is a problem.  Business would be happy to assist in this.

Mr O’Reilly said another announced proposal - to allow shift workers to transfer public holidays - was welcome, as it would address some unintended consequences of a Supreme Court decision impacting on the Holidays Act.

But he said action should be taken on other problems with the ERA and Holidays Act for which a great deal of evidence existed.

“Both laws are over-prescriptive, for example the regulation-heavy formula for calculating holiday pay and the complicated employment rules that advantage unions more than actual workers.   

“These parts of the ERA and the Holidays Act harm the profitability of firms while not doing anything particularly useful for workers.”

Mr O’Reilly said the business sector wanted fair, evidence-based law.  

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