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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Council staff get extra time off

Council staff get extra time off

Last updated 12:19 23/06/2011
Christchurch City Council staff will be encouraged to take three-day weekends as part of an earthquake-related leave package.

The idea, confirmed by senior managers yesterday, was pitched by city councillors who recently returned from a earthquake fact-finding mission to San Francisco.

It would not cost ratepayers anything, council management said.

"This benefit will not impact on council's budget," human resources general manager Chris Till said.

"All staff will have to work with their managers to plan for the taking of this leave and to ensure their team is able to deliver its normal level of service."

San Francisco councillors told their Christchurch counterparts about the impact of the city's 1989 earthquake on staff.

Many staff had become stressed or had resigned, Till said.

A council staff notice, obtained by The Press, said all fulltime and part-time staff would be given an extra day's paid leave every month for the rest of the year, starting on July 1.

The six extra days leave was news to the Amalgamated Workers' Union, which represents about 250 of the council's 1500 staff.

Union spokesman Calvin Fisher said he was unaware of the package, but welcomed moves to reward staff for their efforts.

The notice said it was "a gesture of goodwill and sincere gratitude . . . for all the extra support, commitment and hard work since September 2010".

The extra time off would allow staff "to unwind from the extra pressures we face", it said.

Fulltime staff qualified for the six extra days off and the package would be applied on a pro-rata basis for part-time workers.

Casual staff and contractors would not get the extra leave.

The council said its preference was for staff to take "long three-day weekends".

However, that might not be possible for some workers who dealt with customers or those whose work patterns did not allow for it.

The extra leave could not be accumulated, saved or paid out if staff left, it said.

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