Thumbs up for increased sick leave

Wellington archdiocese’s Ecology, Justice and Peace Commission has expressed support for a bill seeking to increase the availability of employer-funded sick leave for employees.

In a submission to the Education and Workforce select committee about the Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill, the commission said they agreed with the intention of the bill, that seeks to ensure that those who are unwell, particularly during this time of pandemic, are able to stay home from work.

“It benefits everyone in society when sick people do not go to work. Individual workers are able to recover more quickly; co-workers and other family members also have better protection; and all together we reduce the spread of infectious disease,” the commission’s submission stated.

The commission acknowledged that employers may initially experience increased costs due to the additional sick leave, but it pointed out that employers will benefit with greater productivity, as overall sickness in the workplace drops.

“More significantly, employers and our wider society are saved from the potential of closures, restrictions and even lockdowns caused if essential workers feel under obligation to work when they are unwell,” the commission added.

It said increased sick leave, particularly for essential workers, is one of the tools the Government can use to overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 virus.

According to Parliament’s website, the bill’s primary aim is to amend the Holidays Act 1993, to increase the minimum sick leave entitlement from five days per year to 10 days per year.

The bill does not seek to change the amount of unused sick leave that an employee can carry over. The total amount of sick leave that can be saved will stay at 20 days a year.

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NZ Catholic Staff

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