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Holidays Bill a missed opportunity

Wayne Mapp - National Industrial Relations Spokesman

4 October 2004

Holidays Bill a missed opportunity

The Holidays Amendment Bill is a missed opportunity that fails to address the nightmarish issue of 'relevant daily pay', says National's Industrial Relations spokesman, Wayne Mapp.

The Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee reported the Bill back to Parliament today.

"Labour were more concerned with rushing the legislation through in time for Labour Weekend than actually dealing with the serious problems at the heart of the Bill - such as relevant daily pay," says Dr Mapp.

The Holidays Act replaced 'ordinary pay' with 'relevant daily pay'. This is used to calculate sick leave and means employees are paid the equivalent of what they would have earned on that day ordinarily - including overtime and productivity incentives.

Dr Mapp says this means that, in some cases, taking sick leave is more profitable than working.

"The Meat Industry Association has produced evidence showing a 50% increase in sick leave in the few short months since the legislation was passed," he says.

"This is Labour effectively providing an incentive for workers to 'throw a sickie', and unfortunately some workers are responding to that.

"This will come at a huge cost to employers - ANZCO Foods estimates it has cost them around $6.5 million so far.

"By failing to deal with relevant daily pay, the Government will see companies - particularly in the manufacturing industry - forced to restructure so employees do not work on public holidays.

"This will ultimately result in a decrease in annual pay for workers.

"The new legislation was an opportunity to address this, but the Government has focused on tinkering with more minor aspects of the legislation, to the detriment of both employers and workers," says Dr Mapp.

ENDS

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