Labour’s campaign promise of increased sick leave for employees is set to take effect in a few months time. The Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill passed its final reading in Parliament on 19 May and is expected to come into force in around mid-July this year.
The law change will see employees’ annual sick leave entitlement increase from 5 days per year to 10 days per year, although the maximum entitlement that can be accrued will remain at 20 days. The changes will bring New Zealand’s sick leave entitlements into line with many other OECD countries including Australia.
Employers will not be faced with a sudden increase of sick leave entitlement across their workforce. Employees who already have a sick leave entitlement when the legislation takes effect will become entitled to 10 days sick leave on their next entitlement date (12 months from when they last became entitled to sick leave). New employees will receive 10 days sick leave entitlement as soon as they become entitled to sick leave.
Currently employees become entitled to sick leave after 6 months in employment. While the Government has also indicated its intention to give employees some sick leave entitlement from their first day of employment, this was not included in the Bill passed on 19 May and is expected to be introduced in 2022.
Read more about the changes below: