The Null Device

Holidays in Australia

Under John Howard's industrial-relations reforms, workers will be able to cash in 2 weeks of paid leave. Which is how the Tories put it; the unions are warning that employers could insist on employees waiving two weeks of leave; the Howard government has refused to prevent this from happening, claiming that Australian workers need to become more globally competitive. Given that Australians already work longer hours than many other countries (including Europe, the USA and Japan), this argument seems spurious.

High-value employees will, of course, be able to benefit from the increased flexibility and insist on the full four weeks (or even more; some companies, for example, give workers an option to do the opposite of this deal, and take extra unpaid leave); meanwhile, deskilled and interchangeable employees will probably get a US-style 10 days' leave a year. Then again, given that a lot of such employees work casual jobs, and don't get leave entitlements, one could argue that not much will change.

No word on whether leave loading or long-service leave (an artefact of a time when many of Australia's workers were European immigrants who desired to visit families abroad) will survive the reforms, though I wouldn't bet on it.

There are 2 comments on "Holidays in Australia":

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com/ Sat Jul 9 14:59:21 2005

Long service leave is definitely on the chopping block. Axing leave loading would be a massive mistake for the govt, electorally, so they probably won't do that. For now.

Posted by: jack http:// Tue Jul 19 00:40:36 2005

Ten days leave per year is not the norm in the US. Low end workers are lucky to get half of that per year annual leave. Sick leave may or may not be available.

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