Would it be better to shift the summer shut-down to February?
A poll of 500 people by Research New Zealand showed nearly half were in favour of a shift because the weather was better in February – when most people returned to work.
Statutory holidays are, as the name implies, set by statute and school holidays are prescribed by the Ministry of Education.
But there is no legal requirement for any business to shut-down over the Christmas-New Year period.
Some businesses do find it easier to stop altogether. Factories for example use the shut-down to do maintenance that can’t be done while manufacturing is in progress. Some which stop for the statutory breaks prefer to stay shut than stop, start then stop and start again a few days later.
Others close so that all staff take at least part of their four-weeks annual leave at one time, lessening the inconvenience and pressure of having staff off for too long during the rest of the year.
However, some continue to operate and pay staff the extra and give them the days in lieu required later.
Many don’t shut because they provide essential services, cater for holiday-makers or are dictated to by the season and staff stagger their holidays throughout the year to allow the operation to continue.
Research New Zealand director Emanuel Kalafatelis said city dwellers were most in favour, while those in rural areas were against the idea.
“The nature of the business activity in those [rural] areas as opposed to main urban centres, the average farmer can’t stop whatever their doing at the moment and shift their activities.”
Summer is the busiest time for most rural businesses and most can’t shut down, whether it’s over the traditional shut-down period or later.
Stock has to be monitored, cows have to be milked, fruit and vegetables have to be picked, hay, silage and balage have to be made, crops have to be harvested . . . and businesses which process the produce and service and supply other businesses doing all this have to keep operating.
Whenever the shut-down occurs it would be very frustrating if you are a business which can’t, or doesn’t, stop and you find you need goods and services which aren’t available because the business supplying them does.