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Holidays Act review underway

Hon Kate Wilkinson

Minister of Labour

3 June 2009
Media Statement

Holidays Act review underway

A working group has been appointed to begin the review of the Holidays Act 2003, says Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson.

“The Holidays Act has been widely criticised for its complexity and generic approach, resulting in significant compliance costs,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“This review is aimed at making the Act easier for businesses and employees to understand and apply, while maintaining fairness in the employment relationship.”

The terms of reference for the review include:

▪ the calculation of relevant daily pay

▪ trading annual leave for cash at the employee’s request, and

▪ transferring the observance of public holidays

The working group is made up of five members, including two nominations each from the Council of Trade Unions and Business New Zealand.

The members are Helen Kelly, James Ritchie, Paul Mackay, Philip Doak and Peter Kiely (chair).

“The members appointed to the working group have significant experience in employment matters and I’m confident the recommendations they produce will go a long way to clarifying and enhancing the Act.”

The working group is to submit its report by December 2009.

Background - Working Group Member Details

Paul Mackay

Paul Mackay has been Business NZ’s Employment Relations Policy Manager since January 2006. He has significant experience of policy and legislature analysis in government, state owned enterprises and the private sector. In 2004, he developed and presented Carter Holt Harvey’s submission to the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee on the Holidays Amendment Bill.

Helen Kelly

Helen Kelly has been president of the NZCTU since 2007. Her responsibilities in that role include economic development, employment law, social partnership, ACC, pay and employment equity and climate change.

James Ritchie

James Ritchie has been National Secretary of the New Zealand Dairy Workers Union since 2003. He has 25 years experience as a union official and is a member of the NZCTU National Affiliates Council. He served as Workers’ chair on the Committee on Good Employment at the International Labour Organisation 2008 conference.

Philip Doak

Philip Doak is Senior Legal Counsel to the Air New Zealand group of companies advising on all aspects of employment relations law. Air NZ has been involved in litigation in respect of the Holidays Act 2003, including in the Supreme Court. He is a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

Peter Kiely (chair)

Peter Kiely is Kiely Thompson Caisley’s senior partner and has practised in employment law and industrial relations since 1980. He has legal and academic expertise on all aspects of the Holidays Act 2003, authoring ‘The Guide to Holidays and Leave’ in 2006. In 1997, he was appointed Adjunct Professor of Employment Law at Victoria University of Wellington.


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