Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Everyone needs time to mourn the dead

5 February 2004 Media Advisory

Everyone needs time to mourn the dead


Labour Minister Margaret Wilson says there is no such thing as unlimited bereavement leave under the new Holidays Act, there is no reference to tangi leave, and there is no differentiation on the basis of race or religion.

“Reported comments by Don Brash about Maori getting unlimited tangi leave under the new Act are simply wrong.

“The new Holidays Act gives everyone three days to mourn for someone within their immediate family, and a single day to mourn someone close to them. Everyone has the same modest entitlement, and it is perverted to use this modest allowance as a reason or an excuse to discriminate.

“I am concerned that misinformation is being spread just as businesses are preparing for the changes under the new Act, which comes into effect on April 1. A smooth transfer depends on businesses getting accurate information, and misleading comments from high places about entitlements sets up employers and employees to fail. It is unfortunate, to put it mildly, if the leader of a political party attacks our right to mourn when he does not know what the legislation says or accidentally misrepresents it.

“I am deeply concerned that Dr Brash appears to have condoned discrimination against job applicants because of their race. This is illegal, not to mention small-minded. At a big-picture level, every potential employee regardless of colour or creed is a valuable resource for this country. Leaders should focus on making the most of our workforce as a prized asset - everyone’s contribution counts and there should be opportunity for all. Advancing a stereotype of Maori employees as unreliable and absent is not a winning strategy at any level, and it is especially hurtful when we are encouraging every young person into education, training and jobs. Recognising and catering for diversity is necessary in this day and age of inter-personal skills, niche markets and demographic targets.

“The right to take time off work to mourn the dead is not a race relations issue, it is a human one. Death and grief are a universal experience, even if our families and relationships are not uniform, and even if we express grief in different ways when they die.”

Under the new Act, which comes into effect on April 1:

An employer must allow an employee to take bereavement leave (3 days) on the death of their spouse, parent, child, brother or sister, grandparent, grandchild or spouse’s parent.

An employer must also allow an employee to take a single day of bereavement leave for the death of any other person, if the employer accepts that there is a genuine bereavement. When deciding whether the bereavement is genuine, the employer should take relevant factors into account. Relevant factors would include the closeness of the employee and deceased person, whether they have significant responsibilities for funeral arrangements, and any cultural responsibilities the employee has relating to the death.

“Employers and employees can agree for more time off, and I’m sure many do, but we have minimum entitlements to ensure everyone has time to mourn.”

“The Government is doing its best to ensure businesses get accurate information on their responsibilities under the new Act. To help businesses prepare, the Employment Relations Service of the Department of Labour is mailing 150,000 information packs to employers and posting the relevant information on its website,” Margaret Wilson said.

ENDS

For more information about the Holidays Act phone the Employment Relations Service freephone on 0800 800 863 or see www.ers.dol.govt.nz

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

Entering into its third decade of operation, the Scoop news ecosystem is set to undergo another phase of transformation and evolution.

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

 
 

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>

ALSO:

Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>

ALSO:

Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>

ALSO:

United Future History: "All Good Things Must End"

'We’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 15 years, working alongside the government of the day, both National and Labour.' Mr Light told members on Monday. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Outcome, And The Hobbit Law

Somehow the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal has come lurching back from the dead – and as predicted in this column last week, the member countries gathered in Vietnam have announced a deal in broad principle, shunted aside until a later date the stuff on which they don’t agree, and declared victory. More>>

Agreeing To Differ: Greens Maintain Opposition To TPPA
“The Green Party has long opposed the TPPA. The new proposed deal, which came out of the weekend’s talks, still contains key ISDS concessions to corporations that put our democracy at risk, so our position remains the same,” said Green Party trade spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman. More>>

ALSO:

Monitoring Report: A New Chapter For Children’s Rights In New Zealand?

The Children’s Commissioner is calling on the country to embrace children’s rights to ensure their overall well-being. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election