Sick Leave Changes

From 24 July 2021 the number of sick leave days employees are entitled to increases from 5 to 10 days.

After an employee has been working for you for six months, or when an employee reaches their next entitlement date after 24 July 2021 the number of sick leave days employees are entitled to will increase from five to 10. Please note: The increase in entitlement is given on their standard anniversary date, not the date the legislation came into effect.

Employees who already get 10 or more sick days a year will not be affected by this change.

The reason behind increasing sick days is to ensure employees have enough time to recover from sickness or injury, making the workplace healthier and more productive.

This means everything else remains consistent but there are slight variations to what you need to do.

You must:

  • Allow for employees to accumulate up to 20 days of sick leave. This means employees can carry over 10 days of unused sick leave into the next year.
  • Ensure that payroll systems have been updated to reflect the increase in sick leave.
  • Update employment agreements to align with employee’s new sick leave entitlements where necessary. The new minimum entitlements will apply whether or not an employment agreement is updated, but updating the agreement is best practice.
  • Be aware of the changes and communicate with employees.
  • Allow employees to use sick leave to care for a sick or injured spouse, partner, dependent child or any other dependent individual.
  • Pay a sick employee what they’d get if they’d worked a normal day, including bonuses, overtime, etc.

You can:

  • Let employees who’ve worked for you for less than six months take sick leave in advance.
  • Choose to let employees carry over extra sick leave, beyond the 20 day requirement from year to year.
  • Offer more than 10 days sick leave a year.

Casual Employees
Sick Leave also applies to casual workers if, after six months, they have worked:

  • an average of at least 10 hours a week and
  • at least one hour a week or 40 hours a month.­

Part-Time Employees
Part-time employees are also entitled to 10 days of sick leave. The act allows for 10 days of sick leave, rather than two weeks. This means that the sick leave entitlements are not affected by how many days an employee works each week.

i.e. a person who works 2x 10 hour days per week will still be entitled to 10 days of sick leave.

This sick leave will be paid using the normal calculation methods.

If you need to discuss any of the above changes or requirements please feel free to email us or give us a call - we are more than happy to help.