Mondayised holidays now law

Next time Waitangi Day or Anzac Day fall on a weekend, New Zealanders will get a three-day break.

Next time Waitangi Day or Anzac Day fall on a weekend, New Zealanders will get a three-day holiday.

The Labour Party’s Mondayisation bill, to transfer Waitangi Day and Anzac Day holidays to a Monday when they fall on a weekend, passed its final reading in Parliament last night by one vote.

National and ACT voted against the bill, sponsored by Labour MP Dr David Clark, to change the Holidays Act to allow for the Mondayisation of both days.

The Monday holiday will first be effective on Anzac Day 2015 and Waitangi Day in 2016.

NZIER estimates it costs the country $134 million to move a single holiday from a weekend to a Monday.

And since the two commemorative days fall on a weekend about twice every seven years, the average annual cost of Mondayising a single holiday is $38 million (that’s $44 million for both Waitangi Day and Anzac Day).

Employers have had mixed feelings about the bill, with most concern centred extra wages because it will increase the number of paid public holidays.

Business NZ stood against the bill. The lobby group’s chief executive Phil O'Reilly says more holidays mean less productivity and greater administrative costs for business, and that is unhelpful in the current economic climate.

However, results of the most recent NBR ONLINE Business Pulse poll revealed businesses seem nonplussed about paying staff higher pay rates on Mondayised public holidays.

The bill is expected to have a positive impact for businesses in the tourism sector, where domestic tourism brings in about $38 million a day to the economy.

The Holiday Parks Association supported the bill, saying its members enjoy a significant boost in business over long weekends.

Read more details about how the Mondayisation bill works, and what it means for employers, here.

gbond@nbr.co.nz

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