NZ approves minimum 10-day sick leave for employees

A legislation doubling employees’ minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days came into effect in New Zealand on Saturday, bringing benefits to both businesses and workers.

According to Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood, the move aims to “help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy”, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Covid-19 has shown us how important it is to stay home when you’re sick. By giving people a minimum of 10 days sick leave, we’re helping them to do that and stop bugs from spreading,” Wood said.

Having a healthy and well-rested workforce also helps businesses, he said, adding studies have suggested that people working while sick are 20 per cent less productive and the healthiest workers are up to three times more productive.

Employees are eligible for the increased entitlement at different times over the next year in line with their work anniversary dates, he said.

New employees will still be eligible for at least the minimum 10 days sick leave after six months in a job, and the current maximum entitlement of any unused sick leave stays at 20 days annually, according to the Minister.