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Holidays Bill tidies up; case law risk abated

Media statement
Tuesday, November 25th, 2003

Holidays Bill tidies up; case law risk abated

The Holidays Bill reported back to Parliament this week preserves the applicability of case law at risk under the original Bill, and sensibly tidies up some of the myths and complexity of the present Act, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

But the Bill keeps intact the large expense areas of payment of time and a half for working on public holidays, and four weeks annual leave from 2007.

EMA's Manager of Employment Services Graeme Perfect said the Bill in its revised form could be applied pragmatically in today's complex workplace circumstances.

"The Bill has been tidied up from its original form to maintain the primary concepts of the present law," Mr Perfect said.

"That at least reduces the uncertainty and costs of judicial re-interpretation that the original Bill would have made employers succumb to.

"The Bill has also introduced room for more flexibility in several areas.

"That Government has listened to reason is evident from the sick leave entitlement without a doctor's certificate being reduced from five to three days. This may seem small, but without the change the door was open for an epidemic of sickies on Fridays and Mondays.

"Though employees used to be able to carry forward sick leave only by agreement, the new law will allow employees to accumulate it up to 15 days.

"The original Bill would also have needlessly cost employers major changes to their payroll systems for calculating annual leave entitlements; the calculations will now be done from the nearest pay day which will simplify payroll system changes.

"The law relating to close down periods has been clarified; only the one close down is provided for, though others may be subject to negotiation.

"Payments for public holidays, days in lieu, sick and bereavement leave have also been clarified."


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