Tell me why! I don't like Mondays...
The “Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Act” was passed in 2013, but this year and next year are the first years that its effects are felt.
Anyone of my vintage remembers that Boomtown Rats anthem from 1979. Fast forward to the present day in New Zealand, and there are two Mondays that may be a problem for some employers if they don’t have their ducks in a row – namely the Mondays after Anzac Day and Waitangi Day.
The “Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Act” was passed in 2013, but this year and next year are the first years that its effects are felt. The “Mondayisation Act” as it is also known, adds an official public holiday on the Monday after any weekend in which Anzac Day or Waitangi Day fall on either Saturday or Sunday. So for the first time last month, because Anzac Day was a Saturday, Monday April 27 became a public holiday. The same will happen for Waitangi Day next year, which falls on the weekend, so Monday February 8, 2016 will be observed as a public holiday.
Unfortunately for growers, pickers and packers, Mother Nature doesn’t observe public holidays, so the demands of the season will often mean that work must be done on what would otherwise be holiday weekends – especially at this time of year.
For employees who don’t usually work on the weekend which contains and Anzac Day or Waitangi Day, the public holiday must be treated as falling on the following Monday. For employees who normally would be at work on a Saturday or Sunday which is Anzac Day or Waitangi Day, the public holiday must be treated as falling on that day.
In either case, if you shut your workplace down on the day in question, you must pay your workers their regular holiday pay rate for that day. If you do require an employee to come to work on the day in question, the employee is entitled to at least time and a half pay, plus a full day’s time off in lieu to be taken at a later date. Be aware that you cannot just change rosters around temporarily in order to avoid the holiday pay and time in lieu obligations. In all respects, this is no different from how Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and January 2 are treated, so it’s nothing especially new, but if you are an employer, you should factor these additional holiday weekends into your planning as they come up in the calendar.
From 25 to 27 April this year, many folk will have enjoyed what felt like an extra bonus long weekend, but much of the horticultural sector is in full swing at this time of year with harvesting, packing, and the start-up of the supply and selling season. So the extra holiday may have been an unwelcome interruption for some, and a big extra cost on the wages book. If you were not prepared this year, at least now you know to get prepared come Waitangi Day 2016, so that you’re not singing “I Don’t Like Mondays” on February 8.