23 Nov 2010

Parliament gets flurry of last-minute bills

8:44 pm on 23 November 2010

There has been a flurry of government bills as the end of the year draws nearer.

Five bills were introduced to Parliament on Tueday, including legislation setting up a financial assistance package for leaky home owners.

Under the package, the cost of repairing leaky buildings would be shared between the Crown, the local body authority that signed off the work and the home owner.

In return, the owner has to agree not to sue local body authorities or the Crown.

A bill amending the Building Act introduces changes to building regulations which the Government says will encourage those in the building sector to take more responsibility for their work.

Another bill abolishes gift duty and aims to improve the tax disputes process, while yet another sets up the regulatory framework for the Government's planned of high-speed broadband network.

Cash alternative

Under a law passed by Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, employees will be able to choose to cash in their fourth week of leave rather than take it as a holiday.

However, workers should not come under any pressure from their employer to do so.

The law change also allows employees and employers to agree to transfer the observance of a public holiday to another working day, as in, for example, the case of someone who celebrates different religious holidays.

It also allows employers to request a medical certificate if an employee takes a single sick day, although they will have to pay the cost.

The legislation was passed with the support of United Future and ACT.