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Holidays Act Changes Will Create More Problems

Holidays Act Changes Will Create More Problems

Friday 1 Feb 2002 Richard Prebble Press Releases -- Employment

ACT leader Richard Prebble says the Holidays Act has only become a mess because of the government's tinkering and Margaret Wilson's proposed changes won't remove the problems - they'll just create new ones.

"The mess we've got is what happens when the government says things like `everyone who works on a statutory holiday must get extra pay'. There's never been any statutory protection for people who are paid a salary and I've never heard of any problems," Mr Prebble said.

"ACT says all the law needs to do is guarantee employees their right to three weeks paid holiday and paid statutory holidays. But it's not the government's job set the pay rate for employees who choose to work through a statutory holiday or during their annual leave.

"The government appears to be continuing with the nonsense that every worker must take three weeks holiday and that it's illegal for an employer and employee to make alternative arrangements.

"So we have the situation where workers who want to earn extra money can legally take another job during their three weeks annual leave - but they can't work at their normal job during their holidays even if they want to.

"Repeated surveys of employees have found most want the freedom to choose whether to work on statutory holidays.

"I also note that the Minister again wants to increase fines on employers. Most offences under the Holidays Act are inadvertent and caused by the fact that the legislation is hard to apply. For example, if a worker's shift finishes at 12.30am on a statutory holiday they're entitled to a whole day's extra pay. Under the proposed changes it appears the company will get a $10,000 fine if a worker is due to finish at midnight but works until 12.10am and the boss fails to pay the extra wages," Mr Prebble said.


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