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Labour makes sickies more profitable than work

Wayne Mapp - National Industrial Relations Spokesman

16 September 2004

Labour makes sickies more profitable than work

National's Industrial Relations spokesman, Wayne Mapp, says Labour's attempt to fix the mess it created last year under the Holidays Act has failed to deal with the major cause of new sickies - the creation of 'relevant daily pay'.

"Under Labour's legislation, employees are encouraged to take sick leave rather than taking annual leave. Even worse, it pays to be sick, rather than to work" says Dr Mapp.

"This is the result of the Holidays Act, which replaced 'ordinary pay' with 'relevant daily pay'.

"Sick leave is calculated with 'relevant daily pay' - meaning you get what you would have got if you had worked, including overtime and productivity incentives.

"Annual leave is calculated on ordinary weekly pay, which is a lesser amount.

"It seems that pulling a sickie can mean more money than actually showing up for work or taking annual leave."

At a select committee hearing today, the Meat Industry Association presented data showing that in the period April/May 2004, 6,000 more sick days were claimed than in the same period 12 months earlier, at a cost of an additional $1.75 million.

"This is a 50% increase in sick leave in just a few short months since the Act commenced in April," says Dr Mapp.

"And it's fair to assume that this trend has occurred across a wide range of industries."

"Adding insult to injury, if the employer is suspicious about the illness of an employee, they have to cough up for a doctor's visit to prove it.

"If the Government is serious about fixing this deeply flawed legislation, they will scrap relevant daily pay," says Dr Mapp

ENDS

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