The chief executive of the Christchurch City Council is defending the decision to give staff 11 extra days of paid leave to cope with the aftermath of the region's earthquakes.
The council's 2400 staff will be able to take an extra day off before Christmas and 10 days between February and November next year.
In a statement, Tony Marryatt says the decision to offer the leave was in recognition of the challenges presented by the quakes and the significant extra efforts that have been asked of staff.
Mr Marryatt said there is still a lot of work ahead as the South Island city repairs damaged buildings and infrastructure and looks to rebuild the central city.
He says the council will need staff to continue this work over the coming years and it is imperative that he engages and motivates staff during this time.
Councillor Glenn Livingstone says while he agrees staff need to be looked after, it will raise debate about the use of ratepayers money and councillors were not consulted about the decision.
Tony Marryatt says he is confident staff can manage their workloads around these support days so the council can continue to deliver the same level of service.
The council's human resources manager Chris Till says says the enormity of the city's rebuild is an extraordinary situation for staff and this calls for an extraordinary response.
But the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce says the decision is not appropriate or necessary.
Chief executive Peter Townsend says it is bad employment practice and will encourage other workers to ask for the same thing and questioned the financial cost to the council.