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Bad Timing for Employment Bill

Bad Timing for Employment Bill

"The Education sector will effectively have just four weeks in which to consider the impact of the Employment Relations Reform Bill", says Early Childhood Council Chief Executive Officer Sue Thorne.

The timing couldn't be worse for the early childhood education sector. It will be early February before centre owners and committees are fully up and running after the Christmas holidays. Over the late Dec/Jan period many centres are closed completely and others operate on a skeleton staff only. This allows only 4 weeks to seek feedback, consider responses and prepare submissions for the Select Committee process on a very complex piece of legislation which affects all centres and all their staff.

"Our sector is made up of over 1700 mainly small businesses, many run by parent committees", says Mrs Thorne. "We already have our hands full with significant funding and regulatory reviews being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, with consultation documents on these reviews also due out in February 2004. In addition our members are having to get up to speed with the changes to the Holidays Act before the 1 April 2004 implementation date."

Whilst big employers might have the capacity to deal with many complex issues at once, for smaller businesses it is a much greater challenge.

If the government is genuine in its desire to hear what small business has to say on this Bill, they should seriously consider extending the submission date by a further two months to give every employer and every employee the opportunity to provide feedback.

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