What you need to know about the new requirements
July 9, 2021
Minimum Sick Leave Entitlement Increase
The Government has introduced the Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill to increase the minimum employee sick leave entitlement from 5 days per year to 10 days per year.
With the introduction of the this Bill, eligible employees will be entitled to 10 days of sick leave per year. The Bill comes into effect on 24th July 2021.
This will mean:
- Every employee would be entitled to 10 days’ sick leave each year (provided they qualify based on the existing conditions), regardless of their working pattern.
- The maximum amount of unused accumulated sick leave that an employee can be entitled to under the Act will remain 20 days
Please note, existing staff will also benefit from the new entitlements only on their next work anniversary date. (Rather than all employees receiving the additional sick leave on the same day).
Most payroll software will make these changes automatically for you at your employees anniversary, however if you would like us to check with your payroll provider, please do get in touch.
Other Amendments & Proposals are
3 days Bereavement leave for Miscarriage or Stillborn
On the 30th March the Holidays Act was amended to allow for 3 days bereavement for the parents in the event of a miscarriage or stillborn child. This also applied to people planning to have a child through surrogacy or adoption if the child is miscarried or stillborn.
The existing rules on bereavement continue to apply. Employees become eligible for bereavement leave after six months.
Matariki Day – proposed
New Zealanders will have their first Matariki holiday on 24 June next year. However the government is yet to enact this bill into law. The legislation is expected to be introduced later this year and will amend the Holidays Act and add in the additional public holiday.
Parent-Teacher Interview leave – proposed
Currently there is a bill at its first reading to introduce Parent-Teacher Interview leave to allow parents to take up to 4 hours per year of paid leave to attend Parent-Teacher Interviews. It is proposed that this entitlement would arise from the start of employment and that employees would need to give at least 3 days notice of the requirement to take this leave.
Changes to Holidays Act – proposed
A working party’s recommendations have been accepted by the Government in respect of other changes to the Holidays Act. The details of these changes have not yet been announced.
However, the headline proposed changes are:
- Entitlement to Bereavement leave and Family Violence leave to start from day 1 of employment, with sick leave to start from day 1 of employment (on a sliding scale).
- Bereavement leave to be expanded so that employees can access three days leave for more family members, including cultural family groups and modern family structures.
- Simplification of the rules around holiday pay entitlement post parental leave, meaning that employees returning from parental leave will be paid at their full rate for all their annual holidays.
The Government expects to introduce legislation into Parliament in early 2022.
The proposed changes have not yet been passed as law. At this stage you can make submissions on proposed changes and we encourage you to do this. We intend to make a submission as business owners ourselves. Please let us know if you would like us to incorporate your thoughts.
We will keep you informed on the outcomes of these proposed changes.