Get­ting leave, pay right at hol­i­days

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By JOHN BROS­NAN

This year has raced along. Soon it will be Christ­mas and then 2014.

With that be­ing the case we will have the usual re­quests for leave and the need to have relief staff on the farm.

This will also bring the peren­nial ques­tions around pay for this time.

So what are the reg­u­la­tions around hol­i­days and pay?

Re­mem­ber that staff must ap­ply for leave but ap­pli­ca­tion and ap­proval are not the same things.

If it re­ally does not suit the em­ployer they can de­cline a leave re­quest.

The em­ployer must try to be as fair and rea­son­able as they can, but they still have to run a busi­ness and some­times that means that leave is not con­ve­nient.

Dif­fi­cul­ties can hap­pen when the farm owner and worker both want time off.

In this case the farm owner can de­cline the leave re­quested by the worker.

The owner and worker will usu­ally sit down and work out some­thing be­tween them but, at the end of the day, it is the bosses call on whether leave is ap­proved or not.

A hint for em­ploy­ees here; it al­ways helps your em­ployer to plan things if you give them as much no­tice of when you would like to take leave as pos­si­ble.

If you want New Year off then let them know now, not on De­cem­ber 27.

Next, if an em­ployee works a statu­tory day, such as Christ­mas, Box­ing Day, Jan­uary 1 to 2 or the trans­fer­able days, they are en­ti­tled to be paid at time and a half of the hours worked.

What of­ten hap­pens on a farm is that just the ba­sics get done – the things that have to be done each day – milk­ing, shed clean, cows in pas­ture, feed and checked.

Of­ten this is only a half day’s work or maybe two thirds of a day.

What the em­ployer can do then is noth­ing, just leave the days pay un­changed. Why? Two thirds of a day’s work x 1.5 = a full days pay.

So there is no need for a change in the usual pay.

How­ever if they work a full day (or any­thing over 2/3 of a day) the pay will need to be ad­justed.

The em­ployee does also get another day in lieu, which they can take at another time that is agreed with the em­ployer.

If not taken within a year this can be paid out with the em­ployee’s agree­ment.

To avoid con­flict I rec­om­mend (as per re­cent ar­ti­cles) that all farm em­ploy­ees com­plete daily timesheets and get th­ese signed off with the em­ployer. Then there is relief staff. With hol­i­days of­ten comes the need to find relief staff for ev­ery­thing from the oc­ca­sional milk­ing to staff to cover a hol­i­day pe­riod.

Th­ese staff also re­quire an em­ploy­ment agree­ment. Yes, even ca­sual staff re­quire a ca­sual em­ploy­ment agree­ment.

Th­ese staff do not get a day in lieu for a statu­tory day as it is not a reg­u­lar work­ing day for that em­ployee for you, so that is one prob­lem elim­i­nated.

But they do get paid time and a half and as a gen­uine ca­sual em­ployee they also get paid hol­i­day pay at 8 per cent on top of what they earn.

This can be paid ‘‘as they go’’ or at their fin­ish date if it was a short term con­tract.

This must be de­tailed in the em­ploy­ment agree­ment and shown as a sep­a­rate item on their pay-slip.

This year Christ­mas and New Years Day fall on a Wed­nes­day and Box­ing Day and Jan­uary 2 fall on a Thurs­day.

As they all fall on week days the statu­tory hol­i­days are ob­served on the ac­tual days they fall on.

If an em­ployee would usu­ally work on the Wed­nes­day and/or Thurs­day and still works on th­ese days they are en­ti­tled to be paid at time and a half for the time they work plus given a day in lieu at another date.

If you hire some­one to work on th­ese days and they are NOT their nor­mal work­ing days for you (for ex­am­ple, they would not nor­mally work for you on a Wed­nes­day or a Thurs­day) they still need to be paid time and a half for the hours worked but you do not need to give them any days in lieu.

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