Employees Sick Leave Entitlement Increasing to 10 Days

July 17th, 2022 - Barbara Buckett

New Zealand Sick Leave Entitlement in 2022

The government has delivered upon its promise to double sick leave entitlements to 10 days per year. As of 24 July 2021 all New Zealand employees are entitled to 10 days of paid sick leave.

Key Changes

  • The The Holidays Amendment Act 2021 increases minimum sick leave entitlements from 5 to 10 days per year.

  • Employees can collect a maximum of 20 days of unused sick leave. Employees can carry over 10 days of unused sick leave each year, this use to be 15.

  • Employees will receive 10 days’ sick leave on their next entitlement date.

  • Employers can give more sick leave rights than the legal minimums.

  • Employees who are already offered 10+ days per year of sick leave will see no change. 

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.

The Holidays (Increased Sick Leave) Amendment Act 2021

The Holidays (Increased Sick Leave) Amendment Act 2021 was passed on Monday (24 July 2021). Employers must be aware of these changes to ensure that their contracts are in compliance with the law and update their payroll systems to accommodate the changes.

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.

Employment Agreements & Policy Services

Having robust employment agreements and employment policies clearly set out the expectations of both employer and employee. They also provide clear guidance as to how to navigate problems in the employment relationship. Outdated or inadequate agreements or policy can be risky when issues arise or when you are trying to protect the interests of your business.

We can assist with drafting employment agreements (casual, fixed term, full time permanent, part time permanent) and can advise on the inclusion of specific clauses including force majeure, pandemic clauses and restraint of trade provisions.

Learn more about BuckettLawEmployment Agreements & Policy Services.

Helpful Sick Leave Resources

Note: BuckettLaw takes no responsibility for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of our articles. Any views expressed or comments made in an article are the writers option only. The content in our articles does not constitute legal advice. If you need legal or expert advice you should obtain specific advice about your case or matter from a professional. For legal advice based on your individual situation please contact us to speak with one of our expert lawyers.

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Barbara Buckett

Barbara Buckett is a highly experienced senior employment lawyer with over 35 years of practice in New Zealand. She provides expert advice on all areas of employment law and has a proven track record of delivering excellent results for clients. Barbara has extensive experience in resolving workplace issues and is an experienced litigator. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, working out, and fine wine and dining with friends.

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