Fact and Fiction about Employment law changes June 2021

by | Jun 18, 2021 | Employment Agreements, News & Events

Whatever your political views on the speed and extent of the changes in legislation currently being proposed there is quick a lot of mis-information about what is happening and what is actually only being talked about or proposed.  So, this newsletter tries to lay out the current status and give a level of insight into what you need to be preparing for.

Sick leave increasing to 10 days
This Bill passed Royal assent (the final stage) on 24th May 2021 and comes into effect 2 months after that, so on the 24th July 2021.
This increases the entitlement to sick leave from 5 days to 10 days, though the maximum accrual remains at 20 days.  For existing employees, the increase to 10 days will take effect from their next sick leave anniversary date.  I.e. if they started work for you on the 1st January 2021, their sick leave anniversary date will be 1 July 2021, when they will be entitled to 5 days sick leave and then on their next anniversary date of 1 July 2022 they will be entitled to an additional 10 days sick leave.

3 days Bereavement leave for Miscarriage or Stillborn.
On the 30th March the Holidays Act was amended to allow for 3 days bereavement for the parents in the event of a miscarriage or stillborn child.

Matariki Day
A date for Matariki has been announced for 2022, however, as yet there is no Bill proposed to actually enact this change.  It is interesting to note that it has previously been proposed to introduce a Bill to have a public holiday to mark Matariki, but this failed at the first reading in 2009.

Parent-Teacher Interview leave
There is currently a bill at first reading to introduce Parent-Teacher Interview leave to allow parents to take up to 4 hours per year of paid leave to attend Parent-Teacher Interviews.  It is proposed that this entitlement would arise from the start of employment and that employees would need to give at least 3 days notice of the requirement to take this leave.

Changes to Holidays Act
A working party’s recommendations have been accepted by the Government in respect of other changes to the Holidays act.  The exact details of what these changes are are not clear and there is no legislation as yet proposed.  However, the headline proposed changes are:

  1. Entitlement to Bereavement leave and Family Violence leave from day 1 of employment
  2. Entitlement to sick leave from day 1 of employment (on a sliding scale)
  3. Simplification of the rules around holiday pay entitlement post parental leave

Will this definitely ALL become law?
No, there is a process of consultation that needs to be gone through before things become law, and, it should be noted, that there is a significant amount of push-back on the government about the amount and speed of changes that are being enacted.  As such, we can only watch this space, and make submissions on proposed changes as they happen. 

The change in the Bereavement entitlement will probably have limited widespread impact if, for no other reason than most employers would have already have given a lot more than 3 days bereavement leave in this situation anyway.

The increase in sick leave, however, is liable to have a fiscal impact on companies with high sick leave usage and/or sick leave abuse.  I recommend you have a read of our February newsletter Managing sick leave – Skivitis or Genuine, how do you deal with it? And/or watch the webinar on Managing sick leave

Our templates are being updated

The employment agreement templates are currently with the Lawyers for final review and the new templates, incorporating the changes will be uploaded in the next few weeks.  However, the current templates are still valid and suitable for use and any changes (such as the increase in sick leave) will automatically over-ride any differences with your employment agreements.

Don’t forget to register for our monthly free webinars

  1. 10am 24th June – Types of employment engagement
  2. 10am 29th July – Induction – ensuring you make the right first impression
  3. 10am 26th August – Managing flexible working arrangements
  4. 10am 30th September – Setting KPI’s to truly drive your business
  5. 10am 28th October – Successful performance reviews
  6. 10am 25th November The Courageous Conversation
  7. TBA once there is greater clarity on changes – Law change update

And hopefully, that is all clear as mud!

Lisa Mackay
Managing Director

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