The intention of the bill is to improve the overall operation and efficiency of the Holidays Act 2003.

The proposed changes are:

If the employer and employee agree, the fourth week of holiday leave can be traded for cash.

Workers with irregular hours will have their pay for sick leave, bereavement leave, public and alternative holiday calculated by averaging gross earnings for the preceding 52 weeks.

If both employers and employees agree, they could transfer the observance of public holidays to another (identified) working day.

Employers will be able to ask for proof of sickness or injury if an employee takes sick leave, but will have to cover the employee’s reasonable cost in obtaining proof.

Maximum penalties for non-compliance with the Holidays Act will double from $5,000 to $10,000 for an individual employer, and from $10,000 to $20,000 if the employer is a company.

No change to holiday and leave entitlements are proposed.

These proposals are before the select committee and public submissions are due 17 Sept 10.