13 Feb 2012

Transferring holidays not practical - business groups

11:26 am on 13 February 2012

Business leaders say it would be unmanageable for employers to transfer public holidays based on religious backgrounds.

The Federation of Islamic Associations says it plans to petition the Government to have members' Christmas and Easter public holidays moved to Muslim religious holidays.

The Federation of Islamic Associations plans to discuss religious holidays as part of the Government's constitutional review.

Association president Anwar Ghani says at present, Muslims have to take up to four days' annual leave to celebrate religious holidays such as Eid-al-Fitr which marks the end of the month of Ramadan.

Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly says in principal, there will be a lot of sympathy for the idea of transferring holidays.

However, he says it is not practical - especially when considering all the various faiths and the holidays they may have.

Mr O'Reilly says the concept could work for individual companies, and that is the best place for the conversation to be had.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association says having more holidays that employers have to juggle would make it impossible to manage a business.