The Government is set to increase employer-funded sick leave for employees from 5 to 10 days per 12 month period.
The Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill was introduced to the House on 1 December 2020 and passed its First Reading on 2 December 2020. The Bill is currently at the Select Committee stage, with the Committee’s report due in early April 2021. Due to the Government’s strong majority in the House, the Bill is expected to pass the Second and Third Readings and will likely come into force in early 2022.
The stated purpose of the Bill is to bring New Zealand’s minimum sick leave entitlements into line with those of our international neighbours by reflecting “broadly agreed societal expectations about work and just treatment.” Currently, employees in New Zealand are entitled to less employer-funded sick leave than workers in Australia and many other OECD countries.
Rolling-out the New Changes
Rather than all employees receiving the additional sick leave on the same day, the increased sick leave entitlements will be rolled out gradually depending on how long the employee has already been working for their current employer.
Employees who have worked less than six months will become entitled to 10 days’ sick leave after they have completed their first six months of employment.
Employees who have already worked for six months or more will receive the additional entitlement on the anniversary of the first time they completed six months of employment.
No increase to maximum accrued sick leave entitlement
The Bill does not change the maximum amount of unused sick which can be accrued in any year, which remains at 20 days.
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