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"Scare Tactics" Used in Holidays Debate

MEDIA RELEASE

11 July 2003

"Scare Tactics" Used in Holidays Debate

Business New Zealand is following its usual scare tactics by making exaggerated claims about the potential impact of four weeks annual leave, Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.

In a submission to the select committee considering the Holidays Bill, including an amendment for four weeks annual leave, Business NZ claimed another week of leave for workers would cost employers an extra one billion dollars a year.

“Economist Brian Easton has calculated the cost of increasing annual leave to four weeks at $350 million dollars a year,” Ross Wilson said.

“The cost of an additional week’s annual leave is small compared with the benefits to workers and their families, and in relation to significant improvements in employee motivation, performance and productivity,” he said.

“Business NZ’s predictions over the increased costs associated with changes to the Employment Relations Act, ACC and health and safety legislation have all proved to be completely unfounded, and their current claims have no credibility.”

It is nearly 30 years since three weeks annual leave was introduced. In those three decades, hours of work and labour market participation have increased significantly.

“Managers and executives such as Anne Knowles from Business NZ already have four weeks annual leave, and the Bill will ensure everybody enjoys the same minimum entitlement,” Ross Wilson said.

He said claims that restaurants will be forced to close on public holidays because the Bill proposes workers are paid at a higher rate, are unrealistic.

“Some restaurants may make a small surcharge which is perfectly reasonable to ensure that all workers either get the benefit of enjoying a public holiday with family and friends, or get a payment that reflects the loss of that opportunity,” Ross Wilson said.

ENDS

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