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Holidays Act rip-off

Holidays Act rip-off.

THOUSANDS, if not millions, of workers have been ‘ripped-off’ with their annual leave entitlements because of a flawed process of calculating holiday payments according to Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

Senior employment relations adviser Melodi James from Employsure says it’s about time we have “workplace laws that are easily interpreted and implemented, so both employers and employees clearly understand what they are entitled to."

“It is nonsense that small business employers are required to navigate confusing workplace laws that even those who wrote it can’t understand,” said James.

“The announced review of the Act is great news for New Zealand employers. If you are a business owner struggling to understand how to correctly interpret the Holidays Act 2003 requirements, you're not alone,” James said.

Business has long lobbied for changes, arguing its complexity costs time and money.

“Even lawyers and government departments have been found to be non-compliant. It’s even harder for small businesses that don’t have in-house employment experts or human resources departments to focus on the detail and get it right – it’s hardly fair.”

“The margin for error is high and when a small business owner is trying to cover many aspects of their business simultaneously, they may come across legal terminology they don’t recognise or understand.

“We’ve seen this lead to incorrect processes being followed, with potential costly results for small business.”

It is more important than ever for business owners to seek expert advice for peace of mind according to James: "It's pretty clear that confusion is still out there with respect to the current workplace laws, so it’s best to keep on top of employment legislation as well as having employment relations support in some form.”

But waiting for the changes predicted for 2020 is far too late and not fair for SMEs: “business owners are still obligated to compensate employees for current and historic underpayments, and must remain compliant with current employment laws until new legislation comes into effect – if they can understand it in the first place,” she said.

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