NZ reverts to working longer and dumber

Proposed changes to four weeks annual leave will see New Zealanders’ family life suffer for little or no productivity gains, Green Party Industrial Relations spokesperson Keith Locke said today.

A leaked copy of a review of employment reforms shows the Government is keen to make one of the current four weeks of annual leave tradable. Legislation is expected early next year to effect this change.

“The Government seems to have forgotten that the purpose of holidays is to give people rest and family time,” said Mr Locke.

“Trading off holidays for extra pay will rarely be a voluntary process, given that employers have so much influence in the workplace and determine who gets promoted or laid off.

“Gradually, the entitlement to a fourth week’s holiday – won after years of campaigning, will be eroded.

“Some countries, such as France, have five weeks annual leave and their productivity is higher than New Zealand’s, partly because of the respect they show to their workforce,” said Mr Locke.

“The point of the statutory holiday entitlements is to minimise the number of people working on these days so that workers can spend the time with friends and family.

“Reducing overtime payments on holidays, or the entitlement to a full day in lieu, will only see employers pressuring more people to work, at a cost to their work-life balance.”