“Labour’s sick leave legislation is a $1 billion election bribe”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Government’s regulatory impact statement says five days’ extra sick leave will have a price tag for businesses of almost $1 billion a year and could reduce the number of jobs being created.

“Nowhere does Labour justify this policy with evidence that there isn’t enough sick leave now. It is an election bribe disguised as a health measure, pure and simple.

“Of course, the real game is that the Government is massively indebted and is now buying votes by making employers pay more sick leave.

“Only Labour would claim that five days off for 2.7 million people is a solution for a handful of people who need to isolate for 14 days.

“In the last quarter, 37,000 workers lost employment. Labour is piling new costs on the very job creators we need to be supporting right now.

“If 1 April’s minimum wage increase is in line with the previous two hikes, it will cost employers around $270 million and reduce job creation even further.

“Then there’s a new public holiday and ‘fair pay’ agreements. Who would want to be a business owner right now?

“New Zealand is in recession, and the recovery will be long and fragile. Small businesses can’t afford the costs and red tape Labour is piling on.

“The decision to provide part-time and full-time workers with the same amount sick leave will create absurd situations where ‘if an employee worked one day a week, an entitlement to 10 days sick leave would give an employee paid sick leave for 20 per cent of their working year.’

“Labour has a responsibility to support businesses to recover, not kick them while they’re down.

“For a recovery to happen, one New Zealander has to decide to employ another, hundreds of thousands of times over in the coming years. This legislation tips the scales away from recovery.

“Labour doesn’t understand small business. ACT’s caucus has seven business owners and we have a real plan to help the economy recover.

“We would put a three-year moratorium on raising the minimum wage, reinstate 90-day trials for all businesses, and cut GST to 10 percent for 12 months.”