Public servants who have been in the job for more than five years willl now be getting an extra week above the legal limit of 4 weeks.

Already public servants appear to work a gentle forty hour week, with time off for family committments, and in most cases no requirement to achieve sales targets.

How then is an extra week justified? In the private sector extra leave is negotiated based on performance. I have heard of some companies giving an extra weeks leave for long service, but this is generally 10 years or more…a substantial time to be in one job.

I had coffee this week with a friend who is looking for employment – his experience on the hunt for a job was that the public sector were paying 20% more than the private sector. And now they’ll throw in an extra week if you hang in there. If they are already paying above the market average what’s with the added sweetener?

I’d like to know.


4 thoughts on “Public Service and 5 weeks leave”

  1. Hi Skinny

    nice scoop on the herald photo. but I had to reply to this idea of the public service. 20% extra? I wish. But I don’t have the stats on recent salaries so I’ll leave it alone, except to say that the comparisons are terribly difficult, given, as you point out the difficulty of targets: but this is true of many corporate jobs, of which more anon. I worked for 5 years, and contracted back for 3 or so more, in the central public service. We worked hard, damn hard. 50-60 hours a week was pretty much standard. We may not have had sales targets, but every politcy, deservedly, is scrutinised minutely by people like you. Every piece of work, every action, every draft is available under the official information act, every expenditure is open for question. This is fabulous for New Zealand, but to say that the public servants operating in such an environment are taking drafts on the public drink, lazing around, and generally having an easy life is too much. Of course there are shirkers, rent seekers etc., but the work rate of my colleagues and all the people who I came into contact with was outstanding. After all, they have a Minister and Parliament and the Public crawling all over the work, so have a reasonably large incentive.

    As to the five weeks – read the story again; there were clearly a number of discrepancies across the public service. ‘a move designed to save departments from “wasting time and effort” renegotiating provisions that were already common within the public service.’
    Instead of throwing out a question which has employment law ramifications, and stats, and a number of administrative issues associated with it, why don’t you write to the Minister of State Services and ask for associated paperwork. Or write to Treasury and ask what they thought about it. Put it in an Official Information Act request. Or tell the Minister you don’t agree, and ask him to rebut your argument. Of course, a public servant will write the reply, so you might consider that more waste. OF course you could also ask for the stats on actual disparity between public service and private sector wages and salaries, and the working hour comparisons. Or you could go to the Treasury website, or the State Services Commission website, and muddle around looking at all the key result areas, and goals and targets they sign each year with the minister (that then are broken down into targets for employees, like in any corporate office – excepting, of course, that these are open to complete scrutiny by Minsiters, Parliament, voters, you, and of course can be changed at any time by Ministers, Parliament and you acting in concert with your fellow citizens).

    That is, nobody will know apart from those who worked on and wrote the policy and the Minister and Cabinet, the precise answer to your question. You are able to write and ask for that information, and providing the Minister does not withhold it, for a variety of reasons under the official information act (which you can contest via the omubdsman), you will get the policy paper which helped the minister decide. One would guess, if the policy got past treasury, and was signed off by the Minister (who is aware of the OIA, and public scrutiny of every decision they make), it would make a reasonable amount of sense. But perhaps it doesn’t; it says much that the story to which you linked was written on the back, not of the cabinet paper, or the briefing paper, but on a press release from another political part; perhpas the journalist didn’t have time to get the cabient paper, or perhpas, just perhaps, the cabinet paper would have ruined the story, because the decision made sense, given all the available information…why don’t you see

  2. Yep… so it goes.

    but even wellington knows that lots and lots of them are going to be out on their ear by Christmas, and lots more by this time next year…

    and, once the ERA is repealed, there won’t be 4 or 5 weeks leave, or a gentle 40-hour week for public servants any more.

    They can work 60 hours like the rest of us – and take time off between Christmas & New Year if there isn’t much work on.

    What else do they deserve?

  3. Lindsey

    in short: what a lot of c**p.

    Simply vote National or ACT – and the 4 or 5 weeks leave, 40 hour week, and everything else will just go away.

    The policy simply does not make sense. NZs productivity is 30% less than Australia, and 200-500% less than our competitors. We should get 40 hour weeks, and holidays, when we deserve them. Not before.

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