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A fairer 9 day fortnight

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, March 15th, 2009 - 5 comments
Categories: economy, national/act government, workers' rights - Tags:

National’s 9-day fortnight will save only 2-3% of the jobs that are expected to be lost in the recession. It’s a trifling investment of only $20 million. It makes no effort to get workers into training. But the deep, dark secret is it is geared to the gain of business, not working people.

Here’s the fortnightly costs of the scheme for each batch of 10 workers (9 of whom would have kept their jobs anyway and one who would have lost their job). In this example, the workers are on the full-time average wage ($22.89 an hour). Income tax is taken into account.

9day-fortnight1The business is actually better off with the 9-day fortnight than it is just firing one person.  The 10 workers lose over $1300 a  fortnight to save a job paying $1500 a fortnight after tax. The company, on the other hand, gets $450 a week more in savings on its payroll. Not only is business not being asked to carry any of the cost of this program but half the government’s spending is a further subsidy to business.

It doesn’t have to be that way. The third example in the table is what would happen if workers were asked to give up only 8 hours and each hour was compensated at the minimum wage (in National’s scheme workers give up 10 hours and get only 5 compensated). The workers lose $65 dollars a fortnight each instead of 130 each. The government pays $200 more a fortnight but there’s no hidden bonus for the business. It would be possible to go further and make a scheme where the business has to compensate workers for, say, half of the their lost wages so that business bears some of the burden too.

the mathemagician

5 comments on “A fairer 9 day fortnight”

  1. todd 1

    I just dont get this.Are you saying that to save the jobs of the other nine i have to give a PAID holiday to the 10th worker???.The whole point surely is for the BUSINESS to save on ts wages bill to save the other nine jobs.

    • Ari 1.1

      No, he’s recommending that the government give the wages directly to the worker on the tenth day of the fortnight, rather than to the employer.

  2. mj 2

    nah the nine people would keep their jobs anyway and one person would lose their job if there wasn’t a 9 day fortnight scheme

  3. BLiP 3

    Corporate welfare disguised as assistance to the workers. Very clever. Thanks National.

  4. pat 4

    A devastating expos’e’ of the iniquities in the present scheme. And a good call: make employers cough up for part of workers missing wages.

    But there is no outline of any ideas on how we could organise for a fairer scheme.
    So the call, for a fairer 9 day fortnight, will likely remain a toothless pipe dream.

    Calling for somthing like a nation wide union led campaign, co-ordinated by the CTU and supported by the wider left may be worth considering.

    The demands should be a short week with no loss of pay.

    Part of the shortfall in wages to be made up, by withholding part of the affected workers PAYE from the days they do work, (plus where it is appropriate and the employer can afford it, part of the employers dividend.)

    After all befor 1958, NZ workers paid no income tax.
    Since then more and more of the tax burden has been removed from the rich and dumped on to working people.

    The minority of big unionised worksites could lead the demand, using their greater strength and on the job organisation to demand a shorter week with no loss of pay before any redundancies are allowed.

    Even a small number of victorys at such worksites could see this demand become a general nationwide demand at all workplaces.

    Any shortfall in the tax take to be stuck back on those who have brought us this crisis.

    Pat

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