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Holidays Act a big mistake

Monday, September 20th, 2004

Holidays Act a big mistake

It was a big mistake to replace the definition of ordinary pay with 'relevant daily pay', the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) said in its submission to Parliament's Select Committee on the Holidays Act.

Even though EMA knew the Select Committee would be excluded from being heard the association decided it was important to lodge one anyway.

"The Holidays Act has been in place since before 1981 and its definitions were embedded in the fabric of every employment agreement," said EMA's Manager of Employment Relations, Peter Tritt.

"Legislators should not interfere with the freely bargained and agreed contractual arrangements built around laws such as this.

"To do so was a recipe for the unintended consequences that have resulted; lawmakers simply cannot know all the consequences of interfering with hundreds of thousands of contractual arrangements.

"The term 'relevant daily pay' as the basis for payment for time off work was introduced without consultation. It is currently the root cause of many problems in many workplaces.

"It has made holiday pay calculations more difficult and more expensive for employers in direct contradiction of the stated objectives of the law.

"Lawmakers who pass laws in such a manner bring both the law and themselves into disrepute.

"The Holidays Act 2003 should be referred back for genuine tri-partite consultation between government, unions and employers in good faith, and including people who know about managing payrolls and earning the money to pay them, with a view to developing legislation that is practicable and fair."

Mr Tritt pointed out that as the submission was not going to be heard by the Select Committee it was not subject to Parliamentary privilege and open for public comment straight away.

"Rushing this holiday's bill through makes a mockery of the Select Committee system and shows a lack of good faith," Mr Tritt said.


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