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Call for Heads to Roll on Holidays Act

Wed, 16 June 2004

Call for Heads to Roll on Holidays Act

The Government can't help admit it's got egg on its face over the new Holidays Act, says the country's most outspoken payroll advocate, Comacc's Steve Nathan. He believes those responsible should be held accountable, particularly when even the unions agree some sections of the new legislation may unintentionally provide workers with more than was intended.

Nathan says with everyone from the Department of Labour to the EMA arguing about how to interpret the sick leave/public holiday provisions of the new Holidays Act, there's little hope for the small employer getting it right. "The scary thing is that these are the people who were involved in making the new law and they can't agree on how it should be applied," he says.

"What we have seen over the past few weeks is a prime example of the impact of creating ambiguous and unclear legislation." Nathan has been a consistent and vocal critic of the way the new Holidays Act was rushed into place without sufficient consultation with the people expected to abide by it - the small to medium employers who don't have large HR or legal departments.

"The ambiguous nature of this law is costing employees and employers thousands of dollars every week," he says. And while he is pleased to finally hear Labour Minister Paul Swain admit there are problems to solve, he's aghast at plans to change it quickly.

"Only fools rush in," he says. "We've already seen that. If changes are introduced over the next few months, then heads should roll. While I agree the law needs to be fixed, a decent time frame is required for proper consultation, a full review of all areas of ambiguity and preparation by employers, who face ridiculously high penalties if they get it wrong."


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