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EMA Welcomes Commitment To Fix Broken Holidays Act

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) is looking forward to working with the Government on a long overdue fix of the Holidays Act.

EMA Head of Advocacy Alan McDonald says the Holidays Act in its current state is a complex shambles that frustrates both employers and employees.

"Everyone knows the Holidays Act is broken. It is so complex that businesses are struggling to understand their obligations, resulting in ongoing miscalculations and unintentional errors," says McDonald.

"Large Government departments and employers small and large have all been tripped up trying to understand their obligations. When more than $2 billion is allocated for wrong payments in the health sector you know you have a seriously broken piece of legislation."

McDonald says while he will need to wait to see the details in the exposure draft of the proposed Bill, which is being released in September, the EMA strongly supports an accrual system for annual leave.

"While most workers won’t notice any change in moving to an accrual model, it will make the calculation of leave entitlements much simpler and reduce the risks of the unintended errors that we have seen in recent years.

"We also support the move to a pro-rata approach for sick leave, particularly for part-time workers.

"A pro-rata model for sick leave will make the system fairer. If you work one day a week, you should not have the same sick leave entitlement as someone who works five days a week.

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"Part-time workers will still be eligible for sick leave, but their sick leave entitlement will reflect the hours they actually work, the same as for any other leave entitlement.

McDonald says it was important the Government acted with urgency to get the Holidays Act sorted.

"We’ve already seen the timetable slipping from this year to this term. Government officials, employers and unions have been talking about the issues with the Holidays Act for years," says McDonald.

"We can appreciate that the new Government is developing a fresh approach, but the problems are well known, and the answers have been discussed at length. Let’s get on and get it changed."

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