Upgrades to holidays act on the way

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Wood. Photo: Dom Thomas/RNZ.

Several new changes to the Holidays Act will come into effect in 2022.

This comes as 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 says 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.

“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."

The changes 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.

  •   •  Mandatory payslips, so employees know what their used and remaining leave entitlements are, and how these were calculated.

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