Workers at KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks stores in areas hit by the snowstorm in recent days have been told that they will not get paid for any hours lost.

Christchurch Unite Union organiser Matt Jones criticised Restaurant Brands the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks franchises in New Zealand. He believed the company was legally obligated to pay staff their rostered hours.

“We understand that the only option left to the staff is to use what annual leave they may have, which is truly disgusting,” Mr Jones said.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand, has been highlighted by Unite as a company that is taking a hard line on workers who have trouble making it to work because of bad weather.

A Restaurant Brands spokesman said: “Staff who turn up to work are paid for the shift. If a staff member turns up to a store but the manager decides to not open, then they will be paid for their normal shift.

“If the store closes early due to weather safety conditions, the remaining hours of the shift shall be honoured.”

“If a staff member decides to not turn up to work as a result of the weather, they will not be paid, but can choose to take leave if they wish.”

“Staff who are genuinely prevented from turning up to work due to the weather conditions will be paid, but confirmation of this is on a case-by-case basis as there need to be genuine reasons.”


The Unite Union needs to pull its head in on this one. What Restaurant Brands is doing with its HR practices around staff not getting to work is reasonable.

If a store is forced to close they are paying staff. The fact that they are prepared to consider paying staff who were unable to get to work on a case by case basis is above and beyond what they need to do.

Workers and those claiming to represent them need to remember that business is not a charity, and workers are paid if they are at work and not paid if they are absent.

If an employer wants to be generous and cover staff absent for weather related events, then that is their business. It is not a ‘right’ for workers to be paid if they can’t get to work.