Unions are calling on John Key to introduce an urgent law change this week to make sure working people do not miss out on any unpaid holiday pay while employers solve problems with the payroll software.
It is likely that thousands of people working in universities, polytechnics and wānanga have had holiday pay taken from them, says TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs.
The government needs to act, she says, to remove the six-year time limit on employers’ duty to keep payroll records.
Without those records, people may lose the chance to get their holiday pay back while they wait for employers and the government to fix the problem.
Riggs says many payroll services in tertiary education institutions are likely to have flaws in their systems that short-change working people of their holiday pay.
People working irregular hours or whom claim allowances for working outside their usual hours are most likely to have lost holiday pay. For people working at universities, polytechnics and wānanga, this could include many casual employees such as tutors, administrators, technicians and librarians.
“Some of these working people with casual and insecure jobs are the people who most need their bosses to pay them fairly. They need government to ensure that they will not be short-changed.”
Riggs says the government has known about this problem for nearly two years before it made it public. It estimates that New Zealanders could have lost over $2 billion of holiday pay.