Increasing the minimum sick leave entitlement

The Government has introduced a Bill to increase employees’ minimum entitlement to sick leave from five days to 10 days per year.

About the proposed changes

Under the Holidays Act 2003, employees are entitled to sick leave once they have worked with the same employer for six months. This includes employees who have worked continuously as well as those who have worked an average of at least 10 hours per week, including at least one hour a week or 40 hours a month. The current minimum entitlement is five days per year.

After the proposed changes come into force, an employee would first become entitled to 10 days’ sick leave on their next entitlement date. This means that employees who have not worked for their current employer for six months when the law comes into force will receive 10 days entitlement as soon as they become entitled to sick leave. Employees who already have a sick leave entitlement when the legislation comes into force will become entitled to 10 days sick leave on their next entitlement date. That is, on the 12 month anniversary of when they last became entitled to sick leave.

After the Bill has been introduced, the Government has indicated that the Bill will be referred to a Select Committee process. Anyone can have their say on any aspect of the proposed changes by making a submission to the Select Committee.

The Bill was introduced to Parliament on 1 December 2020, and is currently before the Education and Workforce Select Committee. Anyone can have their say on any aspect of the proposed changes by making a submission to the Select Committee. For more information on the submission process, visit the Parliament website.

Read the Bill on the New Zealand Legislation website(external link)

Track the Bill’s progress on the New Zealand Parliament website(external link) 

Last updated: 11 December 2020