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Holidays Act confusion continues

Wayne Mapp National Party Industrial Relations Spokesman

12 January 2005

Holidays Act confusion continues

National's Industrial Relations spokesman, Wayne Mapp, says the Holidays Act caused unnecessary confusion for both employees and members of the public over the holiday season.

Reports today suggest that about one in three eateries closed over the period between Christmas and New Year to avoid additional costs imposed by the Holidays Act.

Under the Holidays Act, staff who work on a public holiday will be paid time-and-a-half for hours worked, as well as receiving a day off in lieu.

Dr Mapp says this effectively means that labour costs are 250% higher on a public holiday than on a normal working day.

Many cafes and restaurants have introduced a public holiday surcharge of up to 15% to account for the additional costs of opening on these days, others have opted to close on public holidays.

"Staff were confused about their entitlements and members of the public were annoyed because they couldn't find anywhere for a cup of coffee," says Dr Mapp.

"The Government was well aware of the problems with the Holidays Act and had the opportunity to remedy them when they made amendments to the legislation just prior to Christmas.

"This missed opportunity saw about one in three cafes and restaurants closed between Christmas and New Year and spoiled the holiday season for many people who were stuck at home because everything was closed."

ENDS

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