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Clawback

Written By: - Date published: 6:44 pm, March 23rd, 2009 - 39 comments
Categories: same old national, workers' rights - Tags:

That’s John Key speaking about Labour’s new fourth week of leave legislation back when the Nats thought they were going to win in 2005.

His plan was to take your fourth week off you before it started happening in 2007 because that way you wouldn’t miss it.

Now they’re trying plan “b” – put your fourth week up for sale. That’s because they figure if they can get you back to being used to a three week leave entitlement then it’ll be easier to get rid of it altogether down the line.

And don’t be fooled by his claim it will only happen if the worker wants it to. There are plenty of other labour laws, like the right to join a union, that are breached by employers pressuring workers all the time. But unless a worker has clear evidence of that pressure and is either in a union or wealthy enough to engage a lawyer they just have to suck it up.

Don’t think for a second that National doesn’t know that.

39 comments on “Clawback ”

  1. gingercrush 1

    You’re wrong but that’s what would be expected really so in good news Section 92 is gone and a great policy where if you voluntary pay debt off your student loan above the minimum you will get a 10% discount.

    IrishBill:That’s your rebuttal?

    • Felix 1.1

      I know you are you said you are but what am I?

      • Pascal's bookie 1.1.1

        …but what am I?

        I’m rubber and you’re glue , what bounces off me, sticks to you.

    • gingercrush 1.2

      Well what is there to rebut. Issues around employment laws are probably the most ideological and the obvious difference between a left and right voter. The left would like to see employment law tightened in favour of the employee as they see the relationship between employee and employer as unequal. Thus they are always opposed at moves by the right that limit or deny it. The right supports employment law that gives employers more choice and therefore will tighten the law around unionism and support legislation that gives employers a choice as in the 90 day probation period. The right either sees the employee and the employer as being equal while the left would argue that the right is merely in the game for businesses.

      Its why if you look at the left blogs they all argue that changes to four weeks holiday is a bad thing while the right supports such changes. Neither side backs down, neither side is willing to look at other points of view. Hence why even though I strongly disagree with you I thought why bother.

      The strange thing is that for most centrist voters employment laws are largely irrelevant and is certainly not something they think about when casting their vote. Instead its left to the right and the left to argue about it.

      • Chris G 1.2.1

        Look without sounding like I’m trying to flame war GC, because I respect your input. However, sweeping generalisations about sectors of NZ was apparently something you found very annoying Here

        How do you know centrist voters disregard employment policy? Most people are employed… me speculating thinks that surely a chunk of these people might have some interest in the nature of their employment and that its not simply left to the political groupies to tussle about.

  2. IrishBill 2

    I recommend readers check out the whole one news clip rather than the edited youtube one as well. It includes the statehouse line and Key claiming he would keep the Cullen fund.

  3. John Dalley 3

    About now, those swinging voters that believed the bull that it was “time for a change” will be thinking they are starting to be screwed.

  4. Monty 4

    You socialists just do not get it – This is about choice. I have presently accumulated five weeks leaveand by the end of the year I will have another three weeks added to that total. I simply do not require more than three weeks leave – I use my leave very carefully and would appreciate the ability to get a little additional cash at the year end to help with the costs over the Christmas break. But Labour’s Nanny state did not want to offer choice. They want to control every aspect of the lives of the workers.

    Although I earn more than most – A little bit of extra money is always useful. I know many of my friends who would also like the opportunity to have a little top up from time to time. But then Labour never want intelligent employees to be able to negotiate with their employer for such a condition – your lot want to box everyone into a one size fits all scenario (and no doubt have the union declare what should or should not work on the basis of what Labour / Unions want in the work place.

    I imagine there are many factory workers or cleaners that would gladly sacrifice a week of leave to have a cash top up – it might be just the thing during a minor cash crisis to help pay a dental bill or a high winter electricity bill – but that would involve giving freedom of choice and Labour / Unions would just hate that.

    • Kevin Welsh 4.1

      Nice one Monty.

      Those bloody socialists again, forcing that extra weeks annual leave on you, the hourly rate, the sick pay, the fact that you work under a contract in the first place when you would much rather just turn up each day with the rest of the crowd and hope you get picked to work that day for a pittance.

      People like you make me sick. You enjoy all the benefits those socialists have won for you and then turn around and slag them off.

    • RedLogix 4.2

      Monty,

      Choice only exists when you have the equal option to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to something.

      You and I probably enjoy a relatively strong, equal relationship with our employers, so I can understand that you see a valid choice here. But many, many employees will NOT have the option to say ‘no’… they will be put under various forms of pressure to ‘sell’ their extra week, whether they like it or not.

      That will not be the kind of ‘choice’ you have in mind. If you think otherwise, I suggest you try your hand at a few minimum wage jobs for a while, you might learn a thing or two. Think about what it is to work a 10 hour day, cooking 200 meals, in a badly ventilated kitchen with the thermometer hovering around 48degC…. all for about $15/hr.

      That’s how one of my tenants earns his living. This guy cannot even get a proper fan installed in his workplace, what chance of holding onto his 4th week of leave?

      • Monty 4.2.1

        But who the hell are you or or union to dictate to every single worker whether or not you may or may not talk to your boss about the extra weeks annual leave. Hell until the 4 weeks leave was drawn up most if not all the workers you are talking about had three weeks leave – now they have choice of 3 witha little extra cash or 4 weeks, There may be some employers who are difficult – but they will be in the small minority – and would probably treat their workers bad regardless.

        But you socialists continue to fit all into the same box. You fools.

        • Tane 4.2.1.1

          Why not make it so that all four weeks can be traded? And let employers and employees negotiate the level of the minimum wage? Why not let workers trade in their health and safety equipment for a higher wage?

          The reason we have minimum standards of employment in this country is to make sure these standards exist in practice and so that no one is unduly pressured to give them away.

          It’s also because only a party that was intent on undermining and ultimately abandoning the fourth week would suggest selling it. This is the thin end of the wedge – next recession it’ll be the fourth week’s leave that no one uses any more that gets the chop.

          I imagine it’ll also reduce pressure on employers to raise wages. “Gee, it’s tough out there at the moment. How about instead of a wage increase this year you trade in your annual leave?”

  5. Bill 5

    I imagine there are many factory workers or cleaners that would gladly sacrifice a week of leave to have a cash top up – it might be just the thing during a minor cash crisis to help pay a dental bill or a high winter electricity bill…

    That would be gladly, born out of desperation. Bollox to that. Decent wages would be gladly accepted though. Decent enough to allow enjoyment of four weeks annual leave as well as pay the dentist and the electricity without going into hoc.

  6. Monty 6

    But Bill – we are not talking about decent wages – we are talking about an employee having choice to cash in a weeks leave – they are actually two different issues – but you socialists try and cloud the issue of course.

    But answer the question what is wrong with a worker discussing and agreeing with his / her boss to cash up a week of leave if both are happy and willing for this to happen?

    The worker gets some money and is happy – the boss can get a week worth of productivity and is happy – win win for both – and freedom of choice

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      No, they aren’t two different issues. The only reason why anyone would cash up the extra week is because they can’t actually afford it.

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        But answer the question what is wrong with a worker discussing and agreeing with his / her boss to cash up a week of leave if both are happy and willing for this to happen?

        Again you assume an equal employer/employee relationship, in which the worker has the unencumbered choice to say yes or no. Your argument vaporises if that choice does not exist.

        • Monty 6.1.1.1

          Workers in NZ are not indentured to their place of employment – they should have choice – and the law can protect them – workers should not be forced to give up their week of leave if they don’t want to. Hell the union might finally be useful and fight for the worker that has an unreasonable boss – but why one box fits all solution that you want . Maybe the law could be changed to allow just those rich pricks on over $60k to cash up their extra week.

          What if the tables were turned – what if the worker wanted to cash up his / her extra week and the boss said no – would that be acceptable? No this is about mutual agreement if I understand the proposal.

          • RedLogix 6.1.1.1.1

            Hell the union might finally be useful and fight for the worker that has an unreasonable boss

            Well only about 18% of workers in NZ are actually covered by a union… sucks boo to the other 82% eh!

            What if the tables were turned – what if the worker wanted to cash up his / her extra week and the boss said no – would that be acceptable?

            No you’ve only pretended to turn the table. Imagine if an unreasonable union forced an unwilling employer to pay the extra week out. Would THAT be acceptable?

            Didn’t think so.

      • Monty 6.1.2

        Again you show deliberate ignorance only a lefty could possibly show. A Worker might cash up my leave for a variety of reasons including wanting to purchase a TV without debt or HP, or because he / she wants to be rid of excessive accumulated leave, or to put more money in the bank to put aside for a rainy day. Any number of reasons. Again the left show their true arrogance by thinking they speak for all.

        • IrishBill 6.1.2.1

          And again you show the arrogance of the right by assuming pretending everyone has the protections you enjoy due to your privilege.

        • RedLogix 6.1.2.2

          No Monty, the mantra ‘freedom of choice’ does not trump every debate. What you are imagining as liberty, is in reality the deepest form of slavery… the state of being subject to every ungoverned whim of those more powerful than yourself.

          Society puts in place many rules, that may limit freedom of action for some individuals, but are of a far greater benefit to the whole community. For instance, the law takes away your freedom of choice about which side of the road you drive on, in return, you gain the far greater freedom of being able to actually use the roads in relative safety.

          Much employment law is based on a similar principle. It recognises that the employer/employee relationship is inherently an unequal one, characterised by an asymmetry of information and power that if left unchecked would rapidly reduce most working people back to that state of ‘indentured serfdom’ you so fondly imagine could not exist.

          The law removes part of that unfettered, unequal power, and replaces it with limits, norms and the notion of ‘good faith’. In return, the whole of society has historically benefited, unshackling the chains of once impoverished legions of servants, serfs and slaves, enabling them to gradually transform into something like a prosperous middle class.

          Of course these laws that protect us from rapacious employers/lords of the manor were not written freely. Our grandfathers, and before, fought long hard battles for these rights. But to appropriate an old aphorism, the first generation fights and builds the empire, the second enjoys and runs it… and the third pisses it up against a wall. (All in the name of freedom of choice no doubt.)

          • Pascal's bookie 6.1.2.2.1

            Anyone else noted how many (most?) rightwingers these days don’t give a flying figuration about why our society (another word they hate), came to be doing so many of the things it does? Why are these things in place? Did our ancestors have their reasons for instituting our institutions? Might they have known a thing or two about what things were like without a thing or two?

            Conservatives? My arse they are.

  7. Macro 7

    So let me get this straight. If I “choose” to cash up my 4th week of leave and work instead – I get my holiday pay AND the wages for the 4th week?
    NO! So why would I choose to work?? Or am I missing something here?
    As you might guess I’m one of the idle rich and not actually entitled to any leave.

    • IrishBill 7.1

      The government hasn’t said you’ll get double wages for the week you work. I suspect that will be another matter to be decided between workers and employers. Of course workers surely wouldn’t “choose” to sell their week for less than that but if they do it will clearly be their “choice”.

  8. mike 8

    What do you socialists have against people being able to make a grown up choice for themselves.
    Not content with criminalising parents or legislating lunchboxes you have to try and tell people what they can or cannot do with “their” holidays.

    • RedLogix 8.1

      Mike,

      Discussing something with some righties gets like this Monty Python scene. At some point you just have to step over the still defiant, but impotently writhing corpse and walk away.

    • Tane 8.2

      I’m more concerned about mean-arse bosses like you trying to tell them what to do with their holidays Mike.

      Face it, it’s not the Government telling people what to do that you’re afraid of. It’s the Government empowering people so you can’t tell them what to do that scares you.

  9. [lprent: banned troll – deleted]

  10. Julie 10

    Seems to me that this yet another way that John Key is going against his commitments to close the wage gap with Australia (which has had 4 weeks AL for ages), and save jobs.

    By allowing employers to pay out workers for a week’s leave Key’s Government is signally that this is the way to get pay rises – sure in the first year or two people will get 2% more in the pocket (at the cost of working an extra week, and all that goes with that), but I think we will spookily find that a lot of workers also end up getting about 2% less in pay increases. And that starting salaries decrease to take into account this 2%. Which is going to play a significant part in driving wages down.

    And then on the job creation front, everyone taking 4 weeks off each year (more in the cases of some with kick-arse collective agreements) creates vacancies, temporary or otherwise, which need to be covered in some way. How many jobs will be lost as a result of this one move? Probably more than will be saved by the what is it 2 companies who have showed an interest in the nine-day fortnight so far.

  11. RedLogix 11

    Its nobody’s business other than the employer/employee what time, if any, is taken off for holidays.

    Fine laudible sentiments I’m sure all hard-working, upstanding citizens would agree with. No?

    New Zealand politics is dirty and Politicians are lower than used car salesmen, real estate agents and lawyers combined. Lets face it they aint going to listen to you as an individual.

    Ever wondered why?

  12. infused 12

    This is one of those ones I just cannot see where the left are coming form. More than likely it’s going to benefit the employee. You really don’t have anything to lose.

  13. Con 13

    It’s already true that if a worker is able to bargain for a 4th or 5th of 6th week’s holiday then there’s no law stopping them. It’s just a question of the relative strength of their bargaining position vis-a-vis their employer. If the employee so chooses, and if their bargaining strength is sufficient to persuade their employer, then they can have whatever holidays they wish.

    For employees whose position is weak, they will simply lose that 4th week, whether they choose to or not. In the current market, many employees have had their bargaining positions weakened. Those in the weakest position will simply lose that extra week. But fuck them eh? They were already low paid, young, female, brown-skinned in all probability. They were never going to vote National anyway, were they?

    Even those in a slightly stronger position will be inclined to trade it in on job security, or a perception of it.

    Tane is dead right … if minimum standards can be traded in then why not trade in other “benefits” like their right to a union; their right to a minimum wage; their right to be treated fairly; health and safety standards? Why not give people the right to CHOOSE to be slaves? Why does the nanny state insist on outlawing servitude? If people choose to sell themselves into bondage that should be their right!

  14. ieuan 14

    So why isn’t anyone asking ‘why is the Minister of Tourism announcing a policy that would give people fewer holidays?’ or why do we need people to work more hours when we are in a recession and the government is pushing the 9 day fortnight?

    • Joey 14.1

      I was wondering that myself. That fourth week could provide a week’s work for another employee.

  15. rod 15

    What has the I R D got to say about 53 pay weeks in a 52 week year?

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