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Improvements to the Holidays Act on the way

Improvements to the Holidays Act on the way

Posted February 23, 2021
Business , Government

The Government has accepted all of the Holidays Act Taskforce’s recommended changes.

The Holidays Act Taskforce was established by the Government 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.

The changes put forward by the Holidays Act Taskforce are designed to make it easier to calculate entitlements and pay, giving employees and employers certainty and transparency.

Business and union representatives reached consensus on these changes which 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.

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

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood said, “I also want to especially acknowledge the CTU and BusinessNZ. This has been another example of the value in taking a balanced approach and working with both unions and business in a tripartite way.

“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,” Michael Wood said.