In August we notified members that the Employment Relations Authority had determined that firefighters working overtime on a public holiday must be paid 1.5 times the overtime rate as the overtime rate is the relevant daily pay.  The 2018-2021 collective agreement specifically sets out overtime rate tables for firefighters which has the firefighter receiving the same pay for overtime hours on a public holiday that they would receive if the overtime was worked on a day that was not a public holiday. The overtime rates changed over time and are currently at T1.5.

The NZPFU successfully filed a dispute claiming that the correct method of calculation was to determine the relevant daily pay was the overtime rate as the employee was to be paid that rate for those hours and then to apply the public holiday payment of 1.5 that would result in a total of T2.25 being paid for the hours worked on a public holiday.

The Authority determined that the Holidays Act applied and that the proper approach was the methodology of determining the relevant daily pay (which is the amount of pay the employee would have actually received if s/he had worked that day) which is the overtime rate and then apply the Public Holiday rate to that rate.  The Authority stated that that approach was the correct approach despite what was agreed in 2013.

FENZ then filed for the matter to be determined by the Employment Court.  They also sought a stay to prevent the paying of the public holiday payment for those hours worked as overtime on public holidays pending the Appeal Decision.

Today the Employment Court refused to issue the Stay meaning that FENZ will have to pay the public holiday rate for overtime hours worked on a public holiday historically, and going forward including the period pending FENZ’s appeal being heard and determined.

The NZPFU has instructed its lawyers to proceed with any necessary action to ensure our members’ receive those payments.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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