13 May 2013

Tonga government to be flexible with contentious employment relations bill

9:08 am on 13 May 2013

The government in Tonga says it is willing to be flexible with some of the contentious provisions in a proposed employment relations law.

There is currently no employment relations legislation in Tonga.

The latest draft bill aims to put in place fundamental rights and principles at work, outlines employee and employer entitlements and gives provisions for equal employment opportunities.

The Tonga Chamber of Commerce says the draft bill will cripple business, specifically the increased holiday leave for workers.

The chief executive of the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour, Tatafu Moeaki, says it is open to working with business representatives.

"We just put as a draft that all employees would be entitled to at least 20 working days of paid holiday leave. And this is one of those contentious issues. But government has been very clear that government would be flexible, would approach this flexibly to reduce it to the absolute minimum, in terms of cost to businesses, having considered that there are some concern for employees and employee representatives."

Tatafu Moeaki says public submissions for the bill have been extended to end of the month.