Pay for sick, bereavement and family violence leave

Employees are entitled to 10 days of paid sick leave every year so that they can take care of themselves or their dependents.

Sick leave payment

All employees (including part-time and casual employees) are entitled to 10 days sick leave per year if they have 6 months’ current continuous employment with the same employer, or they have worked for the employer for 6 months for:

  • an average of 10 hours per week, and
  • at least 1 hour in every week or 40 hours in every month.

Minimum sick leave entitlements increased from 5 to 10 days per year from 24 July 2021.

Managing sick leave

Taking sick leave

Payment for sick leave is only made when it is a day that an employee would otherwise have worked if they were not sick. If it was not an otherwise working day, then the employee would not be entitled to be paid sick leave. For example, if the employee was on unpaid leave or they fell sick on a day they were not rostered to work.

For example, James normally works 8 hours Tuesday to Friday and 4 hours on Saturday. If he is sick on Saturday, the employer should pay James his relevant daily pay for the sick day, which is four hours.

If relevant daily pay is used for the calculation, the payment must include overtime if the employee would have worked overtime on the day if they had not been sick.

For example, Claire’s employment agreement specifies an hour for lunch. But Claire usually takes only half an hour for lunch, at her employer’s request. Instead, she gets an extra half-hour payment each day. If Claire is sick, her sick leave payment includes the extra half hour she is normally paid, even though it is not in her employment agreement.

If the employee works continuously but has an irregular pattern, sick leave is payable if they were rostered to work on the day leave is taken, or they could have expected to be rostered. The sick leave is paid at the employee’s relevant daily pay or average daily pay.

Payment for sick leave is made in the normal pay cycle.

Pay periods and paydays

Bereavement leave payment

Bereavement leave gives an employee time to grieve and to take care of matters to do with the bereavement.

Payment for bereavement leave is only made if the employee would have otherwise worked on the day. Payment should be the employee’s relevant daily pay or, if this is not possible or practical, then the average daily pay should be used. Payment for bereavement leave is made in the normal pay cycle.

Managing bereavement leave

Taking bereavement leave

Family violence payment

Employers must give at least 10 days of paid family violence leave each year to employees who qualify.

Managing family violence leave

Taking family violence leave

An employer must pay employees who take family violence leave. They must pay an employee their relevant daily pay or average daily pay for each day of family violence leave they take on a day they usually work – an otherwise working day.

An employer does not have to pay an employee for any time they get weekly payments through the Accident Compensation Act 2001 or former ACC Act.

Accidental Compensation Act 2001 - New Zealand Legislation(external link)

Holidays Act guidance [PDF, 1.8 MB]

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