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Labour weekend time to consider work-life balance

Media Release 22 October 2006

Labour weekend time to consider work-life balance

Minister of Labour Ruth Dyson is wishing everyone a happy Labour Weekend, and to spare a thought for those who will be working on Monday while others have a holiday.

"Thanks to the Holidays Act, even though some people have to work on Labour Day, the cost to their recreational and family time will be recognised with a higher hourly payment."

The first Labour Day in New Zealand was celebrated on 28 October 1890, when several thousand trade union members and supporters attended parades in the main centres. Government employees were given the day off to attend. It marked the struggle for an eight-hour working day, a right that New Zealand workers had been among the first in the world to claim, starting in 1840 with Samuel Parnell in Wellington.

The Holidays Act also means that from April 2007 everyone will be entitled to 4 weeks annual paid leave, thanks to a Labour-led government.

"You can have better working conditions and fairness in the workplace alongside high productivity and good returns. In fact, New Zealand is among the top countries in the world for ease of doing business according to the World Bank and number two in the OECD for low unemployment rates."

"Skill shortages mean employers who can offer creative ways for staff to achieve better work-life balance will play an important part in attracting and retaining the best people," says Ruth Dyson.

The Department of Labour has been running a work-life balance project to find ways in which workplaces can maintain productivity whilst allowing employees to get the most out of their recreational and family time.

More details about the work-life balance project are available on the website: www.dol.govt.nz/worklife and more details about the Holidays Act can be found at www.dol.ers.govt.nz/holidays_act_2003/

Ends

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