News Article

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Wendys up for $1.6m for getting Public Holidays wrong

Published 04 Dec 2017

3 years ago a Wendys employee approached the MBIE questioning her boss' policy not giving staff a day in Lieu when required to work on a Public Holiday. Last month it was heard by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).

Wendys firmly stood behind their interpretation of the law which was based on a rule whereby staff had to have worked the previous 3 Mondays in order to claim an alternative holiday for having to work the Public Holiday. The purpose of this being that this proved or disproved whether or not the Monday in question was an 'otherwise normal working day' for the staff member. A pessimist might suggest the rostering could then be arranged so that no one ever became entitled to that alternative Holiday.

The ERA disagreed with this. So much so that they have ordered Wendys to credit all staff across all 23 NZ wide stores days in lieu for the past 5 years. Furthermore ex-staff for that period should also receive financial compensation.

It is estimated this will run to about $1.6m for Wendys.

A further interesting point is that apparently this is a common practice among the fastfood and hospitality industry which were also affected back in 2015 with the infamous 'zero hour' contracts. McDonald's and Restaurant Brands have been approached for comment, so there may be more fall out to come.

For more information on Holiday Pay and entitlements please see our publication on Annual Holidays and Leave.

This is available to members for download in the library section of the Employers Toolbox.