Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bosses to get the right to decide when and if workers can have a break...

Bosses will be able to axe workers’ mandatory breaks and compensate them with pay or time off in lieu if a new government bill is passed.

National's proposed law will include “compensatory measures” which include being able to start work late or leave early, and provision for employees to trade accumulated missed breaks for a day off, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Compensatory measures can include staff pay.

Employers will be give the final say over when and how long breaks will be if an agreement cannot be reached through "good faith bargaining" between bosses and employees, according to the bill.

Labour's employment spokesman Trevor Mallard told the New Zealand Herald the bill posed downsides for vulnerable workers whose breaks weren't protected in collective contracts.

"The idea you could be pushed into taking no breaks at all and pushed into having them outside work hours is not a good idea," Mr Mallard said.

"It means the break is worth nothing if it can be replaced with 'time off' at the whim of their employer."

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson has said the changes were aimed at assisting businesses by increasing flexibility for employers.

National's bill would dissolve the law passed by Labour last year which gave workers two 10-minute breaks and a half-hour lunch break each day.

Interested parties, including Business NZ and the Council of Trade Unions, have not been consulted about the changes.

Would you be happy to give up your lunch break if you could leave early?

Is this the short end of the stick and a return to an ECA Part 2? Is this part of the pay-off to those who supported the National Party in getting back into power? Whats next - attacks on the Holidays Act?

OSH has already determined that workers should have regular breaks in the interest of health and safety.

Acknowledgements: MSN NZ

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