Cash Back Leave Will Hurt Family Time

Family First NZ says that cash payment provisions on the 4th week of annual leave proposed by the government will harm family time as the temptation to have immediate cash will be too great to resist for some families.

“While choice is an important factor, annual leave and statutory holidays are an important ‘anchor’ in our work life balance to ensure that families get quality and quantity time,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Poll after poll has shown that both parents and children want to spend more time together doing family things like picnics and holidays together. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult as the retail industry is required to work almost every day of the year, and other industries expand to six and even seven days per week.”

“The temptation for low income families to sacrifice annual leave for urgent cash needs, funerals and medical expenses, or educational expenses will be huge – but at what cost to children who need and want time with their parents.”

An Equal Employment Opportunity Trust on-line survey on fathering and paid work found that 80% of fathers generally wish they could spend more time with their children, and 82% of respondents said their paid work negatively affects the amount of time they spend with their children.

And an Auckland University’s Adolescent Health Research Group report found that 40% of students said they didn’t get enough time with their parents each week.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report, New Zealanders work longer than any other nationality, apart from the Japanese. 21% of NZ workers work more than 50 hours a week. In most EU countries the number of people working 50 hours or more per work remains well under 10%. Just over 1% workers in the Netherlands work longer hours, while only 6% in Greece and Ireland do so. In Australian and American the rate is 20%.

“More money is often at the expense of family time. Taking annual leave may not make economic sense but it does make sense,” says Mr McCoskrie. “We should do everything we can to preserve this important benchmark.”

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