Holidays Act government's next target?

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Employment laws have been high on the National-led government's agenda and it looks like another aspect of employment is on its overhaul target list.

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Michael Woodhouse, has hinted the Holidays Act may be next after telling Radio New Zealand he had heard aspects of it were a concern for employers.

"There's been some longstanding concerns about the complexities of the calculations of relevant daily pay, and as a former CEO of a hospital which employed a lot of workers on night shift and at weekend, I understand that,” he told the network.

"What we need to do is have a look at our legislative priorities and what we campaigned on and make them our first order priorities."

Earlier this year law firm Simpson Grierson called for a repeal of the Holidays Act 2003 after conducting a survey of HR specialists which revealed many found the Act difficult or very difficult to apply.

Simpson Grierson partner Phillipa Muir and senior associate, Rebecca Rendle, said: “We regularly receive feedback from employers that the Holiday Act is overly complex and no longer fits with the many and varied work patterns now in place.”

The law firm has welcomed the news Woodhouse is considering an overhaul of the Act.

In a statement they said they had been lobbying for a change in “this area for some time” and that feedback from their survey “clearly recommended a repeal of the Holidays Act 2003 and the introduction of a new 'plain English' statute for holiday entitlements.

Respondents suggested the Act does not fit the many and varied work patterns of the modern workplace. A new up-to-date, user-friendly piece of legislation is needed”.

Opposition however, has hit out at making changes to the Act with Labour's Acting Deputy Leader, Annette King, saying that calculating annual leave differently “is likely to see workers losing even more of their holiday entitlements”.

Meanwhile proposed changes to the Paid Parental Leave Bill have failed to pass. As previously reported by HRM Labour MP Sue Moroney scaled down her paid parental leave bill and asked National to back a new version which gives extra leave to parents of twins or triplets, premature babies or those born with a disability.

The proposed amendments were vetoed 61-60 with National and Act opposed. The Bill will be continued to be debated next year.

Related articles:
Is it time to repeal the Holidays Act?
Holiday Act working group back view Act needs to change
Time for the Holidays Act to be overhauled says HR

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