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Changes To The Holidays Act & The Employment Relations Act

Published 01 Dec 2010

Source – Department of Labour

Changes to the Holidays Act 2003 and the Employment Relations Act 2000 have been passed by Parliament.

The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2010 and Holidays Amendment Act 2010 introduce a wide range of legislative amendments.

The main changes to the Holidays Act include:
  • The ability for employees to cash in a maximum of one week of annual holidays.
  • Transferring public holidays to another working day.
  • Proof of sickness requirements.
The main changes to the Employment Relations Act include:
  • Extending trial periods to all employers
  • Changes to the personal grievance provisions
  • Requiring consent to be given before a union can access a workplaces, and confirming communication with employees can occur during collective bargaining.
  • Requiring employers to retain employment agreements
  • Extending the role and powers of labour inspectors.
When the changes come into effect

Most changes for both Acts will come into effect on 1 April, 2011.

One provision in the Holidays Amendment Act 2010 comes into effect immediately. This provision relates to the treatment of holidays and leave during a 'closedown' of a business. For example if your business has an annual 'closedown' or 'shut down' period that includes public holidays (as can happen over the Christmas / New Year period) then the employee is entitled to be paid for the public holidays if it is an otherwise working day for the employee.

One provision in the Employment Relations Act 2010 comes into effect from 1 July 2011. This provision requires employers to retain a signed copy of individual's employment agreement or current signed copy of the terms and conditions. Employees are entitled to a copy of their agreement if they request one.