The NZPFU’s challenge of FENZ’s interpretation of “relevant daily pay” for the purposes of calculating public holiday payments heads into mediation on Tuesday.
The Holidays’ Act provides that an employer must pay an employee at least time and a half for working on a public holiday. Currently a Firefighter or Officer is paid overtime (time and a half) when working overtime but if they are working that overtime on a public holiday they are still only receiving time and a half in total. Therefore a firefighter working overtime does not receive any additional payment for working on a public holiday than they would for working overtime on any other day.
The NZPFU is claiming that the relevant daily pay for a firefighter working overtime on a public holiday is the overtime rate which should then be multiplied by 1.5.
There is a historical context to the issue as the rate of overtime has changed over the term of the collective agreement to reach the current overtime rate of 1.5.
The NZPFU has tried to resolve this issue with FENZ since 2020 but without success.
It is usual for a matter filed in the Employment Relations Authority to be subject to mediation first. If it is not resolved at mediation it will proceed to a hearing. The NZPFU has also made a claim in bargaining to resolve this issue.