New Zealand Labor Day, celebrated on the fourth Monday of October, is a special day for all laborers in the country. This year, it is observed on October 23. On this day, a public holiday is declared so that the employees get an opportunity to take some time off and treat themselves to a day of relaxation and fun. It also allows the workforce to plan a weekend getaway and spend time with family. And yes, you can even sleep all day if you want! The objective is to pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you do throughout the year.
History of New Zealand Labour Day
While each nation has its history of labor laws, Samuel Parnell initiated the idea of workers’ rights in New Zealand in the 1800s. Parnell, who was a carpenter, was offered a job by George Hunter, who wanted him to build a store. Parnell was eager to take up the opportunity, but he had one clause. He was only going to work eight hours a day. Parnell’s idea reflected the famous slogan by social reformer Robert Owen, who stated: “Eight hours labor, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest.” Hunter agreed to the terms, and thus, the first eight-hour job was created in New Zealand. Regarding the achievement, Parnell stated, “the first strike for eight hours-a-day the world has ever seen, was settled on the spot.”
However, the trend did not catch on easily since other employers refused to accept the idea. Instead, they demanded longer working hours so they could earn more profit. But by 1840, it had become difficult for such employers since workers had started to appeal for shorter working hours. As a result, the right for laborers to work only eight hours was not standard until the mid-1860s.
While the fight for fewer hours continued, laborers also began to speak out about dangerous work conditions, and the government realized that the safety of the labor force was crucial. Due to the efforts of laborers to earn their rights, the first Labor Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm. It included massive parades, and government employees were given a day off. But unfortunately, the celebration factor surrounding Labor day lost its charm over the years, and today, New Zealand Labor Day is merely a public holiday.
New Zealand Labour Day timeline
The eight-hour working day movement arises.
The first Labor Day is celebrated in New Zealand.
The Liberals' industrial conciliation and arbitration system is introduced.
Industrial unrest reappears.
New Zealand Labour Day FAQs
How is Labor Day celebrated in New Zealand?
Trade union members and supporters attended parades in the main centers.
Are shops open on Labor Day N.Z.?
Since it is a public holiday, most of the businesses are closed.
Is Labor Day a holiday in other countries?
Yes. More than 160 countries celebrate Labor Day and are given a holiday on that particular date.
How to Observe New Zealand Labour Day
Read up on labor history
Each country's evolution of labor laws has a history of its own. For many, it took decades before appropriate labor rights were formulated. So to best celebrate New Zealand Labor Day, find out more about the history and years of struggle.
Celebrate the day
Since New Zealand Labor Day initially had parades and extravagant celebrations, you too can bring back tradition by throwing a bash for your office colleagues and your close friends.
Promote the rights of laborers
Not everyone is aware of all the labor rights provided to a country's workforce. Use this day to spread as much information about workers' rights as you can so those in need of a job are not exploited.
5 Interesting Facts About Labor
Most searched job
The job of a police officer is the most popular in New Zealand.
Places with the most child labor
Asia and the Pacific have 114 million child laborers.
A lawsuit against companies using child labor
Firms such as Nestle, Mars, and Hershey's have been involved with child labor.
The country with the least female employees
Yemen has a low rate of 6.04% female employees.
The best countries for workers
Norway and Denmark provide the best workers' rights.
Why New Zealand Labour Day is Important
It is educational
The day serves an educational purpose since it looks back into the history of labor rights, how it all started, and the previous working conditions before certain courageous individuals decided to take a stand.
Reminds laborers of their rights
The day is a reminder that the laborers of New Zealand have numerous rights. Their responsibility is to ensure all young and old employees know their rights so that an employer does not exploit them.
Reiterates the struggle for freedom
With all the rights we have today, it is often easy to forget the years of struggle to attain fundamental human rights. This day is a reminder of the efforts of our ancestors, as well as their courage.
New Zealand Labour Day dates