Increase Sick Leave Entitlements

Currently New Zealand workers are entitled to five days paid sick leave a year, which can be taken when they, their partner, or a dependent is ill. However, recent research by Southern Cross Health Insurance has shown that while employees take on average only 4.2 sick days per year, they go to work when they are too sick to function an average of 11.1 days per year. Southern Cross is of course trying to use this to push employers into providing subsidised health insurance (more business for them), but it also suggests that sick leave entitlements are too low.

Relevant legislation
Sick leave entitlements are defined in s65 of the Holidays Act 2003.

Proposed changes
Increase it. 10 days does not seem out of line, given that employees are sick an average of 15 days a year in total.

This will also require consequential changes to the carry-over provisions in s66.

Holidays (Sick Leave) Amendment Bill

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