Parliament has passed the Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill to increase the minimum employee sick leave entitlement from 5 days to 10 days per year.
Most employees who have worked for an employer for six months or over are entitled to sick leave if they, or a dependent, are sick or injured. Currently, employees are entitled to 5 days of sick leave per year; however, from 24 July 2021 this will increase to 10 days per year.
Employees will get the extra five days when they reach their next entitlement date – either after reaching 6 months’ employment or on their sick leave entitlement anniversary (12 months after they were last entitled to sick leave).
So, for example, take an employee who has been employed since 20 January 2021. They become entitled to sick leave on 20 July 2021. They will be entitled to only 5 days, because the new law won’t yet be in force. On their next sick leave anniversary, 20 July 2022, the employee will receive 10 days sick leave.
On the other hand, take an employee who has been employed since 20 June 2021. Because they will have been employed for less than six months when the Act comes into force (on 24 July 2021), their entitlement to 10 days sick leave will occur on 20 December 2021 (that employee’s six-month anniversary).
Employees who already get 10 or more sick days a year will not be affected by this change.
The maximum amount of unused sick leave that an employee can be entitled to will remain 20 days.
Casual employees are also entitled to sick leave and bereavement leave after 6 months of starting work if during that time they have worked:
- an average of at least 10 hours a week
- least one hour a week or 40 hours a month.
Please talk to our payroll team if you need further support or advice.
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