Improvements to the Holidays Act on the way
The Government has accepted all of the Holidays Act Taskforce’s recommended changes, which will provide certainty to employers and help employees receive their leave entitlements, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today.
Michael Wood said the Government established the Holidays Act Taskforce to help address challenges with the Holidays Act after a joint request from Business NZ and the Council of Trade Unions.
“The Holidays Act 2003 encourages a healthy work-life balance by setting out minimum holiday and leave entitlements for employees. However, employers have found the legislative requirements hard to administer, which has meant costly fixes and employees missing out on their entitlements.
“The changes put forward by the Holidays Act Taskforce will make it easier to calculate entitlements and pay, giving employees and employers certainty and transparency. Business and union representatives reached consensus on these changes and we are delivering on our election commitment to implement them.
“I would like to thank the members of the Taskforce and Chair Gordon Anderson for their work. Their recommendations include:
- Entitling eligible employees to bereavement leave and family violence leave from their first day of employment.
- Giving eligible employees one day’s sick leave from their first day of employment, with an additional day given per month until the minimum entitlement is reached.
- Extending bereavement leave to include more family members, including cultural family groups and more modern family structures.
- Removing the current parental leave ‘override’ to address discrimination against parents who take time off to care for their young children. Removing this provision will mean that employees returning to work following parental leave will be paid at their full rate for annual holidays.
- Requiring payslips, so employees know what their used and remaining leave entitlements are, and how these were calculated.
“I also want to especially acknowledge the CTU and BusinessNZ. This has been another example of the value in taking a balanced approach and working with both unions and business in a tripartite way.
“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,” Michael Wood said.