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Group Appointed To Review Holidays Act

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

(Adds Labour Party comment)

Wellington, June 3 NZPA - A working group has been appointed to review the Holidays Act, Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said today.

She said the Act had been widely criticised for its complexity and the significant compliance costs it created.

"This review is aimed at making the Act easier for businesses and employees to understand and apply, while maintaining fairness in the employment relationship."

Terms of reference include:

* The calculation of relevant daily pay;

* Trading annual leave for cash at the employee's request; and

* Transferring the observance of public holidays.

The working group has five members including two nominations each from the Council of Trade Unions and Business New Zealand.

Its chairman is Peter Kiely and members are Helen Kelly, James Ritchie, Paul Mackay and Philip Doak.

"The members appointed to the working group have significant experience in employment matters and I'm confident the recommendations they produce will go a long way to clarifying and enhancing the Act," Ms Wilkinson said.

The group has to submit its report by December this year.

The Labour Party said workers should be "very, very afraid" of the review.

Trevor Mallard, its spokesman on labour relations, said the Government's track record was proof of that.

"We've already had the 90-day `fire at will' law, the abolition of the Department of Labour's pay and employment equity unit, confirmation ACC entitlements will be lost, and the slashing of nearly 1500 public sector jobs," he said.

"Now we have a review of the Holidays Act. Of particular concern is the proposal to consider allowing workers to cash in their annual leave."

Mr Mallard said national had always argued that employees should be able to cash in their annual leave but had consistently ignored the fact that employees on low pay or under pressure from employers would struggle to say `no' to their bosses.

Mr Mallard said Mr Kiely was "a long time National Party board member and a lawyer for the party ... it is disappointing that he will chair it (the review group)."

NZPA PAR pw nb

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