Listen to New Zealand news, spoken slowly and clearly, using easy vocabulary. Note:You may need to download Adobe Flashplayer if you can't access the podcast.

Labour Day

Today is Labour Day. Many countries celebrate Labour Day, a day which remembers the workers. In New Zealand, this is always part of a long weekend – an extra holiday after Saturday and Sunday, long enough for some to travel a short distance. Aucklanders love having a holiday in Coromandel and tonight there are thousands of cars slowly moving on the highway, back to Auckland.

The story of Labour Day begins with the story of Samuel Parnell.

So the 8-hour working day became a feature of New Zealand’s labour laws. The 8-hour day and the 48-hour working week became law in 1899. This was later changed to a 40-hour week.

These days, many workers have casual jobs, especially if they work in the service industry, serving food and drink, or cleaning. They are paid by the hour, for the number of hours they work, often earning just the minimum wage. Their hours of work depend on the needs of the industry. The bonus is that some of these workers can earn extra money if they work on holidays. Casual jobs usually suit students who choose how many hours they wish to work.

Vocabulary

  • labour – work
  • casual – not permanent
  • to suit – to please the person