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New Sick Leave Law Passes

The Labour Party has belatedly delivered upon its promise to double sick leave entitlements to 10 days per year.

The Holidays (Increased Sick Leave) Amendment Act 2021 was passed on Monday. Employers must be aware of these changes to ensure that their contracts are in compliance with the law.

From 24 July 2021, employees will become eligible to receive the enhanced entitlements. Not everyone becomes entitled to these new entitlements at the same time. Employees will receive 10 days’ sick leave on their next entitlement date.

The entitlement date is 6 months from the date of employment or and every subsequent anniversary.

For example:

  • Employees who commenced work on 24 January (of any year up to 2021) are luckiest as they will receive their entitlements immediately.
  • The writer was employed on work on 7 June 2019, which unfortunately means that he will not be entitled to the additional sick leave dates until 7 December 2021.

The staggered approach to the new entitlements should lessen the impact on employers’ contingent liability.

The amendment brings New Zealand in line with Australia. Singapore (14 days) and Switzerland (15 days) have greater sick leave entitlements.

 

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