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Government commended for making changes to employment law

24 November 2010

Government commended for making changes to employment law

Federated Farmers is commending the Government for last night's final reading of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill (No 2) and the Holidays Amendment Bill.

"The Federation has been pushing to have these amended and it's good to see that the Minister of Labour, the Hon Kate Wilkinson, has listened to us," says David Rose, Federated Farmers' employment spokesperson.

"Federated Farmers has been concerned about the perceived imbalance between employers and employees, especially in regards to personal grievance cases, where we think the existing law was tipped too much in favour of the employee.

"The Act was also too focused on process rather than substance. It's good to see Government moving to address this concern while ensuring that employees with genuine grievances will still have redress.

"Our members experience with the 90-day trial period means we are strong supporters of it, so we are pleased the Government is to extend it to all employers. We believe it will encourage more employers to give less experienced employees 'a go'.

"We're also happy the amended Holidays Act will allow employees to transfer public holidays to another day and also to request, that up to one week of annual leave be paid out instead.

"This not only allows for greater flexibility within the job market, but is also very beneficial for farming, which is a 365-day industry.

"We're delighted to see that Average Daily Pay will be able to be used for calculating leave payments. The current Act's provisions for this has caused significant difficulties, both for farmers and in shift based industries, like meat processing.

"In businesses where employment agreements provide for high rate days, Relevant Daily Pay has given an obvious incentive to be absent. The Meat Industry Association has estimated that Relevant Daily Pay costs meat companies some $17 million per year.

"Both employers and employees should welcome the flexibility and choice these changes will bring," Mr Rose concluded.


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