The Union is aware of the National Notice 6/2011 put out on 31 January by Mike Hall.
The Union was advised in advance of the content of the Notice.
The Notice came about because at least one member sought Labour Dept. advice as to the legality of the Fire Service deducting an already earned Alternative Holiday for taking off a Public Holiday (despite the provisions of Clause 126.96.36.199 of the C.A.)
The Labour Dept. advice is that this deduction cannot happen – this is contrary to the Holidays Act.The Union’s independently obtained legal advice
is not dissimilar to the Labour Dept advice.
As a consequence of the Labour Dept. advice, the Fire Service is now re‐crediting Alternative Days back to firefighters’ balances for each Public Holiday previously taken off.
Section 47 of the Holidays Act and the C.A. make it clear that if you are rostered to work on a Public Holiday, there is a requirement to work.
The Labour Dept’s advice (and the Union’s) does not say it is unlawful for the Fire Service to allow a firefighter to take off a Public Holiday – only that an Alternative Holiday cannot be deducted for taking a Public Holiday off.
The Fire Service’s response to this is to simply advise that it will not allow Public Holidays to be taken off – presumably because of cost.
The effect of the Labour Dept’s advice is that they are saying that Clause 188.8.131.52 of the C.A. (which was agreed when the Fire Service agreed to provide Alternative Holidays) does not comply with the requirements of the Holidays Act.
The Union is considering the implications of this Fire Service determination – however it is fair to say the Holidays Act provides little room to move – although the Union will attempt to discuss any alternatives with the Fire Service.