Court rules that "donning & doffing" is paid work
Employment Court rules that "donning & doffing" in meat works is paid work
In a landmark decision for the Meat Industry, the Employment Court has determined that the requirement to put on and remove specialised clothing and equipment at the beginning and end of each shift and at rest and meals breaks (donning and doffing) is "work" under s 6 of the Minimum Wage Act for which the minimum wage is payable.
The case was between Ovation Gisborne, Fielding, Te Kuiti Meats and the Meat Workers Union where the issue of whether piece work payments incorporated money for paid breaks was also considered. The court ruled in favour of the MWU on this issue as well.
"Donning and doffing" has been a growing concern of meat workers in the industry", says Graham Cooke, National Secretary of the NZ Meat Workers Union (MWU).
"As the requirements around hygiene, food safety, export standards and other regulations have increased, so has the responsibility of meat workers to meet these requirements in their own time before and after work, and before and after paid and unpaid breaks.
"This is a wake-up call for the Meat Industry, as it has been for other industries where unpaid work has been taken for granted for far too long." says Mr Cooke.