Leave for staff over Christ­mas break

Matamata Chronicle - - What’s On - JOHN BROS­NAN

With Christ­mas come the usual re­quests for leave, the con­sid­er­a­tions around staff to cover statu­tory days and the ques­tions around their pay that this al­ways brings.

So we thought it was a great time to re­fresh ev­ery­one on just what the rules and reg­u­la­tions around hol­i­days and pay are.

Staff are re­quired to ap­ply for leave, but ap­pli­ca­tion and ap­proval is not the same thing.

If it’s not suit­able for the em­ployer they can de­cline a leave re­quest.

The em­ployer should take a view of be­ing as fair and rea­son­able as they can, but need to con­sider that they have a farm to run, there­fore un­for­tu­nately this may mean the leave re­quest is not con­ve­nient.

A hint for employees here, it al­ways helps to plan in ad­vance and give your em­ployer as much no­tice as pos­si­ble as to when you would like to take your leave.

If you wish to have New Year’s off then, let them know now not on De­cem­ber 27 and cer­tainly not on Jan­uary 1.

This year Christ­mas and New Year’s days fall on a Fri­day, and Box­ing Day and Jan­uary 2 are on a Satur­day.

There­fore, the statu­tory hol­i­days for Christ­mas Day and New Years Day are ob­served on the ac­tual days, and the statu­tory hol­i­days for Box­ing Day and Jan­uary 2 are ‘Mon­dayised’ for those employees who usu­ally only work Mon­day to Fri­day.

That means those days will trans­fer to the im­me­di­ate fol­low­ing Mon­day.

If your farm worker works on a statu­tory day then they are en­ti­tled to time and a half.

Of­ten on a farm it’s the ba­sics that need to be done – for ex­am­ple; milk­ing, shed clean, cows in pas­ture and feed.

Of­ten this may only equate to a half or two thirds of a days work.

What the em­ployer of­ten does is elects to keep the stan­dard days pay un­changed. Why? Two thirds of a days work x 1.5 = a full day’s pay. There­fore there is no need for a change to the usu­ally weekly pay.

The Min­istry of Busi­ness In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment re­quire­ment for all farm­ers to use timesheets has now been taken on­board by farm­ers, making it easy to track and val­i­date to the em­ployee what their pay en­ti­tle­ments are. The em­ployee is also en­ti­tled to a day in lieu, which the em­ployee may take at an­other time – on agree­ment from the em­ployer.

With the hol­i­days of­ten there is a need to find re­lief staff, to cover a hol­i­day pe­riod for the oc­ca­sional milk­ing. All ca­sual staff should be pro­vided with an em­ploy­ment agree­ment.

It is im­por­tant to note that re­lief staff, if work­ing a statu­tory day, are not en­ti­tled to a day in lieu, as it is not deemed as their reg­u­lar work­ing day.

They do get paid time and a half, how­ever, if they are a gen­uine ca­sual em­ployee, they are en­ti­tled to be paid hol­i­day pay at 8 per cent in ad­di­tion of what they earn, ei­ther daily/ weekly (as they go), or on their fin­ish date, if em­ployed un­der a short term con­tract.

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