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Extra Leave ‘Entirely Justified’ - PSA

The three days extra leave granted to Housing New Zealand staff at Christmas was an entirely justified recognition of the unpaid hours they put in throughout the year to implement the government’s new income-related rents policy the PSA says.

National secretary Richard Wagstaff, responding to criticism of the extra leave, said many HNZ staff worked unpaid long hours, including weekends to implement the new policy.

‘This wasn’t a case of getting days off for just doing their job. The staff at HNZ worked selflessly well beyond the call of duty to make sure the new policy was in place in time. They deserved the extra time off,’ he said.

‘The extra leave recognises the strain those long hours put on staff’s families and the disruption to their social lives. It’s simply not on to criticise staff for working hard and getting a little time off at the end of the year. In most cases the unpaid hours worked by staff add up to much more than three days so the government and the public of New Zealand are really the ultimate winners,’ he said.

The criticism by Government Ministers reflects concerns raised by the PSA. In general PSA expects pay and employment conditions delivered through time off in lieu for work done and pay systems, negotiated and described in collective employment agreements, rather than one-off grants for extra time off and bonuses.

‘With the new industrial laws and our Partnership for Quality agreement with the Government the PSA is organising to deliver fairer, responsible and more durable pay systems and outcomes. We want pay systems that recognise and reward the commitment and dedication to quality public service displayed by Housing New Zealand staff,’ he said.

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