Holidays Act  

1. Days in Lieu

The Fire Service has advised they expect to file at least part of their case on appeal sometime next week. Once the case has been filed, a date for the hearing can be established.

The Union has been advised that Business New Zealand has applied for party status at the hearing. Business New Zealand applied and was granted party status at the Employment Court hearing.

2. Transferring of Public Holidays to other dates

The Union’s understanding of the transferring provision was set out in Newsletter of 22 December 2005. It would seem that once again the Fire Service has difficulty in

understanding clear English, as the relevant Section of the Holidays Act is quite explicit:

Section 45 Transfer of public holidays over Christmas and New Year provides inter alia - If Christmas or New Year’s Day:

  • Falls on a Sunday and the day would otherwise be a working day for the employee, the public holiday must be treated as falling on that day.
  • Falls on a Sunday and the day would not otherwise be a working day for the employee, the public holiday must be treated as falling on the following Tuesday.

What this means for the 2005/2006 Christmas/New Year period when Christmas and New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday is as follows:

  • Blue and Green Watches worked on 25 December and 1 January. These public holidays are observed on the actual day itself.
  • Brown and Red Watches did not work on 25 December or 1 January and therefore for those workers, the public holiday is transferred to Tuesday 27 December and 3 January.
  • Red Watch was rostered to work on 27 December and 3 January and that is the day for them observed as Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Union’s Court actions claim a Day in Lieu for Red Watch on 27 December and 3 January.

Any Brown Watch worker who worked an Overtime Shift on any part of 27 December or 3 January has that overtime shift treated as if it is a public holiday – i.e. public holiday overtime rates plus a Day in Lieu.

The Union is aware that in some cases the above rules have not been applied, and the Union has formally disputed this with the Fire Service. Please advise the Union if you believe you have also not received what you are entitled to.

3. Sickness or Bereavement Leave on a Public Holiday

Again the Fire Service seems unable to understand plain English. The Holidays Act provisions again are very clear.

Section 61 of the Act provides inter alia -
Any employee who is required to work on a public holiday but does not work because of sickness, injury at home or bereavement:

  • The public holiday is treated as a public holiday not as sick or bereavement leave i.e. no deduction from leave entitlement.
  • The employee is paid their relevant daily pay for the day.
  • The employee is not entitled to a Day in Lieu

Again the Union is aware of cases where these rules have not been applied, and the Union has formally raised this with the Fire Service. If you believe you have not received your proper entitlement, please contact the Union.

Bargaining Notice – F.S.O. V.S.O. Training Officers

The Union is aware there is some misleading information being circulated regarding the Protocol referred to in Newsletter of 8 February 2006.

The Protocol is between the Union and the P.S.A. It was facilitated by the N.Z.C.T.U. The Fire Service was not involved in any way in its development. To the best of the Union’s knowledge, the Fire Service has not got a copy of it.

The narrowing of the coverage of the P.S.A.’s Bargaining Notice is a result of those discussions directly between the Union and the P.S.A. as is the time limit of 15 February 2006.

As a response to a large number of queries from FSOs, VSOs and Training Officers, the Union provides the following advice. In terms of the present situation:

  • Persons from an operational background can be covered by the Collective Agreement whether wholly or in part. Such a person can, for example, have core conditions covered by the C.A. e.g. Overtime, Hours of Work, but could have an individual variation relating to the rate of above – i.e. above but not less than the C.A. rate.
  • A person from an operational background can be on an individual agreement. If a member of the Union, this agreement cannot provide less than the C.A.
  • A person from a non-operational background can effectively be on the C.A. by way of a mirror agreement.
  • A person from a non-operational background can be on an individual agreement.

If a member of the Union, the Union can and has for the member, made all these types of agreements outlined above.

At the next negotiations, as well as attempting to establish a separate section of the Agreement for all Black Watch workers, the matter of coverage will also need to be addressed, and this can be done in a number of ways.

Obviously Black Watch workers in the specialized areas – F.S.O., V.S.O., Training – have specialized issues that need to be addressed, and given the nature of their duties, they clearly have issues quite different from other Monday – Friday employees in the Fire Service.

As well as flexibility in hours of work already provided for in the C.A., other issues that need to be addressed include:

  • Holidays
  • Call-out arrangements generally
  • Use of Fire Service vehicles
  • P.C.A. as it applies to individuals.

Any F.S.Os V.S.Os or Training Officers with further queries are quite welcome to contact the Union to discuss these further.

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