Review of Holidays Act 2003

The Minister of Labour, Kate Wilkinson, has announced that there is going to be a review of the Holidays Act 2003 to see if any changes are needed. The review could mean that in the future, instead of taking a holiday, employees could ask for money instead. The Holidays Act 2003 was brought in by the Labour Government, and will be reviewed by a group that includes representatives from the Council of Trade Unions and Business New Zealand. They will produce a report before the end of the year with recommendations for the Government.

At the moment, employees in New Zealand get four weeks paid annual holidays after the first 12 months of employment and they cannot be swapped for cash. Business groups think the review is a good idea because the law at the moment is confusing. They also say that not everyone works 9am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. Some people also want to spread their holidays throughout the year instead of taking them all in one month. Unions and the Labour Party however think that some workers might take the cash instead of time off, especially those on a low income or with heavy workloads.

Annual holidays are important as they give people time to relax with their families and enjoy their hobbies. Some countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong only have seven days annual leave and China and USA have no leave written into the law. Before 2003, the law in New Zealand was three weeks annual leave and with no extra payment for working a public holiday.

Contributed by Anita Jones

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