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Holidays Act Changes

Updated: May 17, 2021

There has been a recent amendment enacted to the Holidays Act and there are two Bills currently making their way through the Parliamentary process.

The first Bill is the Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill had its second reading in Parliament on 5 May and is currently sitting with a Committee of the Whole House before it goes to its third and final reading before gaining Royal assent.

The purpose of this Bill is to increase sick leave entitlements. The Bill will come into force as law two months after gaining Royal assent.

The Bill increases the minimum amount of sick leave an employee is entitled to from five to ten days. The maximum days an employee may accrue at any time remains 20 days.

Each employee's entitlement to ten days will come into effect on and from their next anniversary date after the Bill has passed into law.

The second Bill is the Holidays (Parent-Teacher interview Leave) Amendment Bill, which was introduced to Parliament on 11 March this year and is yet to have its first reading.

The purpose of this Bill is to allow workers with children to take leave to attend parent-teacher interviews. The Bill will come into force as law 6-months after gaining Royal assent.

The Bill provides for up to 4 hours’ parent-teacher interview leave in each 12-month period of current continuous employment however the employee cannot carry forward any parent-teacher interview leave not taken in any 12-month period.

Under the Bill, an employee who intends to take parent-teacher interview leave must notify their employer of that intention at least 3 working days before the day on which the employee intends to take parent-teacher interview leave. The employer must not unreasonably withhold consent to an employee’s request to take parent-teacher interview leave.

If you have any issues with this Bill, once it has passed its first reading, it is likely to go to Select Committee at which stage you can make submissions on the Bill.

In March a Bill that makes it clear that the unplanned end of a pregnancy by miscarriage or still-birth constitutes grounds for bereavement leave for the mother and her partner or spouse, and that the duration of the bereavement leave should be up to 3 days, passed into law.

This Bill amended the Holidays Act 2003 to now provide 3 days bereavement leave for parents who suffer a loss due to a miscarriage or still birth.

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