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New Sick Leave Entitlement

The Government have started the process to increase employee sick leave from five days to 10 days per year with the introduction of a Bill to Parliament.

The Bill if passed in its current form, means employees would become entitled to 10 days sick leave per year instead of 5 days as is the minimum entitlement now.  They would however still only accumulate up to a maximum of 20 days.

An employee would not immediately be entitled to the increased sick leave when the Bill comes into force. The increase would come into effect on the next date an employee becomes entitled to sick leave for a subsequent 12-month period i.e. their anniversary date of their next sick leave entitlement.

The Bill will go through a full select committee process and is expected to be passed in mid-2021, to then come into force two months after it receives royal assent.

If you are an employer employing part-time workers you will likely be impacted to the greatest extent. This is because sick leave is not pro-rated for part-time employees which means that an employee who works, say, one day per week, would also be entitled to 10 days sick leave per year.

The Bill is estimated to cost employers almost $1 billion per year and brings New Zealand sick leave entitlements into line with other countries such as Australia and Finland.

If you would like to have your say on the Bill you will be able to make submissions to the Education and Workforce Select Committee.

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