New rules for bereavement and sick leave on the way

The Government is signalling new changes are on the way to leave entitlements, including expanding the criteria of bereavement leave to include more family members and giving employees a sick day from the first day of employment. 

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Starting next year, workers will be entitled to bereavement, sick and family violence leave from their first day of employment. Source: 1 NEWS

Workplace Relations Minister Michael Wood said all recommendations from the Holidays Act taskforce were accepted by the Government. 

"Officials have begun further detailed policy design work on these changes and will involve a range of payroll experts to make sure we get it right.

"I expect to introduce legislation in early 2022 and give businesses plenty of time to prepare for the changes."

Changes include giving employees access to bereavement leave, family violence leave and one day of sick leave from their first day at work.

An additional day of sick leave would be given per month until minimum entitlement is reached. 

It would also require payslips to be given to ensure employees know their leave entitlements. 

Another change would be scrapping the 'override' in parental leave entitlements — which currently means for holiday entitlements, an employee would only be paid at the rate of their average weekly earnings over the year. 

"Because the employee’s average weekly earnings during parental leave will be $0, and parental leave periods can be up to 52 weeks long, this means that some employees are entitled to be paid $0 per week for annual holidays," the taskforce report stated. 

The extension of bereavement leave would also include the death of stepfamily members, siblings-in-law and children-in-law, some family groups such as whāngai relationships, and aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.