Sick Leave Changes You Need To Be Compliant With

If you are an employer of staff, you need to be aware of the recent changes to sick leave that may affect your employees that you must comply with.

From 24 July 2021, the number of sick leave days that employees are entitled to will increase from five to 10 in total. Upon reaching their next entitlement date, employees will receive the increase to their sick leave entitlement after being employed in a job for six months or on their sick leave entitlement anniversary.

One of the key issues of presenteeism (being present at work without productivity) is working while still sick. Exacerbating medical conditions due to a lack of sick leave or not wanting to use the limited ones available can be the biggest detriment to employee productivity for a business. 

This change to sick leave is in effect now to ensure that your employees are the recipients of enough time to recover from sickness or injury, making your workplace healthier and more productive. 

 

As an employer, you will need to:

  • Allow for employees to accumulate up to 20 days of sick leave (allowing employees to carry over 10 days of unused sick leave into the next year). 
  • Ensure that payroll systems have been updated to reflect the increase in sick leave.
  • Update employment agreements to align with employee’s new sick leave entitlements where necessary. The new minimum entitlements will apply whether or not an employment agreement is updated, but updating the agreement is best practice.
  • Be aware of the changes and communicate with employees. 
  • Allow employees to use sick leave to care for a sick or injured spouse, partner, dependent child or any other dependent individual
  • Pay a sick employee what they’d get if they had worked a normal day, including bonuses, overtime etcetera. 

 

As an employer, you can also allow employees who have worked for you for less than six months to take sick leave in advance or choose to let employees carry over extra sick leave beyond the 20-day requirement from year to year. You can also offer your employees more than 10 days of sick leave per year if you wish.

This may also apply to casual workers under certain circumstances (if after six months, they have worked an average of 10 hours/week and at least one hour/week or 40 hours/month).

Those employees who are already entitled to 10 or more sick days a year will not be affected by this change.

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