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“Mondayisation” Bill passes final reading

From MinterEllisonRuddWatts

Last night the Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and Anzac Day) Amendment Bill narrowly passed its third reading by 61 votes to 60 - both the National and Act party voted against the Bill. As a result, when Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day now fall on a Saturday or Sunday, and this is not otherwise a working day for an employee, the public holiday will be treated as falling on the following Monday.

How will this change affect you?
The dates on which Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day are currently celebrated will remain. For example, parades and other commemorative celebrations will continue to be held on 6 February and 25 April each year. However, if those days fall on a weekend, and it is not otherwise a working day for an employee, the public holiday will be treated as falling on the following Monday for that employee. For employees who do work weekends, the public holiday will continue to be recognised on the actual day.

If an employee works on a day that is designated as a public holiday for them (either the weekend day or the Monday depending on their normal working days), then the employee will either be entitled to a paid day off on that day or, if the employee works, they will receive time and a half for any hours worked, and become entitled to an alternative holiday.

For employers, this change may mean, depending on your workforce, that you have different workers taking public holidays on different days. This will need to be managed, administratively and through payroll, in a similar way to Christmas and New Year holidays. Employers may also find that the changes lead to increased costs although, for some employers, this may be compensated by extra holiday weekend business. Employers will have time to prepare for the change, as the next of these holidays to fall on the weekend will be ANZAC Day in 2015. Following this, Waitangi Day will fall on the weekend in 2016, and then the next day will not be until 2020.

Marriage Amendment Bill passes final reading
Another significant legislative change occurred last night with the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill. The Bill passed by a much larger majority than the “Mondayisation” Bill, with 77 votes to 44.

The key effect of the Bill is that same-sex couples and transgender couples are now legally able to marry. Furthermore, both people are now able to be legally recognised as a parent of an adopted child. The Act will come into force in mid-August 2013.

How will this change affect you?
For employers, it would be prudent to assess your own policies and forms to ensure that they recognise same sex marriage by August of this year. Rather than referring to “husband” or “wife” in your documentation, gender neutral terms such as “spouse” may be more appropriate. It may also be timely to update any discrimination policies and ensure that your workplace could not be seen to discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.


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Disclaimer: This information has been written for and submitted to HRINZ for publication and has been published in good faith for the general information of HRINZ Members of the Institute. HRINZ accepts no legal responsibility for the contents of the Knowledge Base and appropriate professional advice and assistance should be sought in particular cases.

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