BIG NEWS

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The nine day fortnight


The Government is going to provide the minimum wage for five hours a fortnight for those in large unionised private sector firms who take part in the nine day fortnight. In other words their employer will be paid about $1560 for each employee to compensate for the loss of a days wages, which that employer passes on to the employee. The Prime Minister gets close to that amount every day. Andrew Little, speaking in his capacity as EPMU boss but sounding like a Labour Party President, said "Unless employers are willing to meet this subsidy with a substantial top-up of their own it's unlikely to be accepted by workers.

Meaning that an employee should take a day off work, their $60 should be topped up by their boss for not working. Little wants employers to pay employees for not working - as if they were on sick leave. So if you are off sick on your tenth day, will you get $60 sick pay and lose a day of sick leave entitlement - and the $60 is kept by the boss if you have no sick leave entitlement?

Lets say you earn about $30 an hour, roughly the average wage and you are the sole breadwinner.You have a nine day fortnight - your income will drop $4290 a year, meaning if you have three kids you`ll get $20 extra in Family Support each fortnight. But it appears that if you don't work all four days on the short week, or you don't have any sick leave and you are sick, you still get to keep your $60 In Work Payment from IRD for that week even if you work fewer than 30 hours.

I'm wondering whether this will not be optional at all - I wonder if it will be run like carless days. Remember them? In the case of offices, each computer has a sticker and the colour of your sticker determines which day in the fortnight you have off. If you don't want to participate, you get made redundant.

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