As I have raised previously here I think there needs to be a serious debate about ensuring that New Zealanders get the 11 public holidays a year that they are entitled to under the Holidays Act. The issue is back in the spotlight this week after the EPMU have raised it as part of negotiations. Interestingly the NZ Herald waded into the debate in their editorial yesterday, and came out in favour of Mondayising.
By international standards, New Zealanders work long hours and do not enjoy an inordinate number of holidays. In the interests of fairness and uniformity, they should enjoy the full fruit of what they get.
This is exactly right, and should be the basis from which the discussion about public holidays flows. The biggest issue that has been raised with me since my earlier post is the question of undermining the sanctity of the days. However I think the Herald has this exactly right as well when discussing the RSA’s concerns about any change.
The RSA is right about the increased sanctity of Anzac Day, but that is the precise reason it is wrong to fear that might be lost if the day were Mondayised. People understand the importance of April 25 and February 6 as the exact dates of important historical events. They want to commemorate those events on those days. That will never change. It is, therefore, no reason to deny the statutory holiday that usually falls people’s way on those days.
I think the best of both worlds is possible where the actual days are given the respect that they absolutely deserve, but on occasions when they fall on the weekend the statutory holiday allocation is retained.
The biggest issue for me in this matter is the changing nature of the working week. Mondays are in fact a common regular non-working day for those in hospitality and retail, and therefore they miss out in terms of public holidays, especially when we consider that other holidays such as Labour Day and Queens Birthday always fall on Mondays. This may mean a different kind of amendment to the Holidays Act, either separately or in addition to dealing with the ANZAC/Waitangi issue.
Anyway, I am keen to hear your views, and whether this is something people in your workplace have talked about or are concerned about.