New Zealand government approves improved Holidays Act

The revised Holidays Act will provide clarity to employers and help employees receive their leave entitlements.
By: | February 25, 2021

New Zealand’s Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Michael Wood, said the government had set up the Holidays Act Taskforce after a joint request from Business NZ and the Council of Trade Unions to provide more clarity on issues they have with the existing Holidays Act. 

The Taskforce had in its final report of October 2019 recommended 22 changes, including: 

  • 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.

“The changes put forward by the Holidays Act Taskforce will make it easier to calculate entitlements and pay, giving employees and employers certainty and transparency,” said Wood. 

“Business and union representatives reached consensus on these changes and we are delivering on our election commitment to implement them. 

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“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 minister said. 

Payments to staff under the existing Holidays Act have been a big source of cost and confusion for years, according to Stuff.