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Holidays Act compliance project

More than 100,000 health workers will have their holiday pay calculations reviewed going back to 2010 with an undertaking that any shortfall will be refunded.

Investigations undertaken by the Labour Inspectorate of the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment (MBIE) identified widespread issues for many organisations that their payroll systems were not complying with the requirements of the Holidays Act. This meant that many employees weren’t receiving their correct leave entitlements.

District Health Boards (DHBs), the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS), the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU), health unions, and the Labour Inspectorate have been working together to develop an agreed national audit process.

DHB spokesman Jim Green says the Holidays Act is complicated, outdated and has caused significant problems for employers and workers alike.

“The simple truth is the Holidays Act presents complexities to the health workforce, with their wide ranging shift patterns and rosters covering a 24 hour a day, seven day a week service.

“The complexity and difficulties in interpretation have resulted in historic non-compliance – this process is designed to fix that.”

CTU President Richard Wagstaff proposed a joint approach to resolving this issue when widespread issues of underpayments started coming to light across the public sector.

“We understand the difficulties created by the way payroll systems have been configured, and everyone is committed to understanding the size of the problem, fixing the systems, and most importantly, reimbursing employees who’ve been underpaid.

“The size of the health workforce will make this the biggest remuneration correction in the public sector – we need to get this right and that’s why this joint commitment to a solution is critical.”

The remediation process agreed with MBIE’s Labour Inspectorate includes:
An agreed baseline on how the Holidays Act applies to health sector employees;
A framework on how DHBs will assess and rectify non-compliance; and,
A memorandum of understanding that details the agreement between the CTU, unions, DHBs and the Labour Inspectorate.

The 20 DHBs and the NZBS will be grouped into tranches for the review, beginning with the Auckland and Northland DHBs which are already underway. All reviews will be underway by April 2020 and it’s estimated that it will take between 12 and 18 months for each DHB to work through a process to review, rectify and remediate non-compliance issues.

DHBs and the health unions will also be communicating with DHB employees as and when their reviews get underway with details of how they can take part and be represented.

ends

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