The Restaurant Association of New Zealand has submitted a proposal challenging the government on its Holidays Amendment Bill.

In the submission the Association urges the government to reconsider the proposed changes to assist the battling hospitality industry which continues to face significantly reduced revenues and increasing overheads bought about by the pandemic.  

The Association ultimately wants to see a delay to the roll out of any extension and for the sick leave provision to apply specifically to COVID related illness.

“Our sector remains at the behest of the Government’s border closures. Many businesses continue to struggle with revenue losses and the increased costs of COVID related operational guidelines and minimum wage increases.  This is not the right time to impose more operating costs on businesses,” says Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association.

“The baseline cost increase that this Bill introduces, lands squarely on the shoulders of business owners. The cruel reality is, change of this kind is of no use if the workplace no longer exists.”

The Restaurant Association has made three recommended amendments to the bill calling for

Sick leave entitlement to be pro-rated to part or full time employment status; have the extra leave associated with a specific COVID-19 provision rather than a wide sweeping provision for all, and a longer lead-in time for implementation.

“Whilst we ultimately support the Government’s ambition to ensure all workplaces are ‘fair, safe and productive’ we would prefer that policies are made in consultation with industry.

“The extension of sick leave to ten days has been highlighted by our members as one of their biggest concerns facing the businesses’ survival in 2021.

“While larger businesses may be able to more readily absorb these additional costs, hospitality businesses are usually small businesses operating on tight margins,” concluded Bidois.

The submission was made on Thursday February 4.

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