14 May 2013

Tonga employer groups say new employment law will cripple businesses

4:46 am on 14 May 2013

Employer groups in Tonga say a proposed new employment relations law will cripple businesses.

The draft Employment Relations bill outlines employee and employer entitlements and gives provisions for equal employment opportunities.

One proposal is to entitle all employees to at least 20 working days of paid holiday leave.

The president of the Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Aloma Johansson, says such holiday provisions will ruin businesses.

She says the bill also removes employers' rights to hire and fire.

"There are those that are not overly perturbed about having a legal framework in place, what they are perturbed about are the contents of the act itself. And then of course there are those that say they don't want an employment bill and they think it's inappropriate to have it in place right now because it would cripple, and perhaps maybe for them, that's exactly what would happen. 21"

Aloma Johannson says there's concern the government has made minimal effort to find out the challenges businesses face.

The government says it is willing to be flexible and work with businesses on the contentious issues in the bill.