Since the sick leave changes came into effect on 24 July there’s been a lot of confusion and we’ve been fielding an avalanche of questions.
To help simplify things, we’ve put together some additional information and some helpful examples.
Here’s how it works
Employee sick leave entitlement increased to 10 days per annum on 24 July 2021.
That means employees are entitled to 10 days sick leave after they have reached their entitlement period.
The entitlement period is:
- when an employee has completed six months continuous employment with their employer; or
- If the above does not apply, when the employee has worked for their employer for a six-month period for:
- at least an average of 10 hours per week; and
- for no less than one hour in every week, or no less than 40 hours in every month during that six-month period.
Once an employee has met the entitlement period, they become entitled to 10 days’ paid sick leave for the next 12-month period. (This is often referred to as an employee’s sick leave entitlement date.)
- If an employee does not use all their sick leave during this 12-month period, the employee can carry it over to the next 12-month period, but:
- the maximum amount that can be carried over is now 10 days (not 15); and
- the maximum amount that can be accumulated remains at 20 days, although employers can, at their discretion, allow an employee to carry over and accrue more sick leave.
There are two types of situations to consider when it comes to the sick leave changes. Here are some examples of how these changes apply to existing and new employees:
- Jerry commenced employment on 1 January 2018 as a full-time employee of Wanda Industries Ltd. He became entitled to sick leave on 1 July 2018. His sick leave anniversary date is therefore 1 July. Jerry is entitled to 5 days’ sick leave per annum up to 1 July 2022 but on 1 July 2022 he becomes entitled to 10 days’ sick leave per annum.
- Tom will commence employment with Buzz & Co. Ltd on 1 August 2021 as a full-time employee. On 1 February 2022, he will become entitled to sick leave. Tom’s sick leave anniversary date is therefore 1 February. Tom first becomes entitled to 10 days’ sick leave on 1 February 2022.
- Spike commenced employment with Tuffy Incorporated Ltd on 1 May 2021. He was employed on a full-time basis. Spike will become entitled to sick leave on 1 November 2021. His sick leave anniversary date is therefore 1 November. At 1 November 2021, Tom is entitled to 10 days’ sick leave because the time at which he became entitled to sick leave falls after the legislation came into effect on 24 July 2021.
For employers: It is worthwhile explaining to employees how these changes impact them.
For employees: If you think your employer may have made a mistake when implementing these changes, we can help set them on the right course.