Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fairness and dignity

The government's plan to restore a minimum entitlement for breaks in the workplace has produced the usual reaction: squealing from employer's groups, with the Hospitality Association warning that it will introduce "time police", while Business NZ claims that it is unnecessary as workers and employers are working it out for themselves. The former is simply scaremongering - the law will create a minimum entitlement, and there'll be no compulsion to take it. OTOH, bosses will not be able to force people to work without breaks anymore - a prospect which I can see will be deeply concerning to the Hospitality Association's penny-pinching members. As for the latter, according to the EPMU lack of proper breaks is one of the biggest complaints they get from non-members - which suggests that many employers aren't "working it out" to the satisfaction of their members.

This law is fundamentally about two things: fairness and dignity. And it is sad to see that our employers, as represented by their membership organisations, do not believe in those values.