More sick leave to support employees on the way

Workplace Relations and Safety

The Government is delivering on its commitment to increase the minimum sick leave entitlement to 10 days each year by passing the Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today.

“If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s how important it is to stay home when you’re sick. Having a minimum of 10 days sick leave will help more people stay at home, support working parents, and stop bugs from spreading,” Michael Wood said.

“Businesses also benefit from a healthy, well-rested and more productive workforce. 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.

“We’ve taken a balanced approach and kept the annual maximum entitlement of sick leave at 20 days and employees will still receive their entitlements when they’d normally receive them. This will make it easier for businesses to implement the changes.

“Many employers offer 10 days or more already, and this will mean no change for them.

“As the tripartite Holidays Act Taskforce recommended, we will make some sick leave available from an employee’s first day as part of further reforms to the Holidays Act. I expect to introduce legislation to make these additional changes next year,” Michael Wood said. 

Changes will come into force two months after Royal assent. Employees will become eligible for the extra sick leave at different times over the next year, in line with when their individual sick leave entitlement arises based from their work anniversary dates. New employees will still be eligible for sick leave after six months in a job.