Legislation Changes to Sick Leave Entitlements

The Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Act 2021 received royal assent on the 24th of May, 2021.


This amendment increases the entitlement to sick leave from 5 days per annum to 10 days per annum after 6 months of continuous employment and each year after that. It also changes the carry over of unused sick leave entitlement to be 10 days to a maximum of 20 days.


The provisions of this Act come into force 2 months after Royal Assent. We expect this date to mean around 24th July, 2021. 


What does this mean in practice?


  • Sick leave entitlements that fall due on or after the day the Act comes into force in July 2021 will be 10 days per annum and will need to be recorded in payroll at that amount (except where terms of employment already exceed this amount).
  • Existing staff benefit from the increase in entitlement from their next sick leave anniversary date.
  • Employment agreement templates for new staff should be updated now to allow for the changes that would be applied when the first entitlement falls due after the first 6 months of continuous employment.
  • Offers of new terms to existing staff between now and 23rd July 2021 should include explanation of the changes and how they would be applied to that individual depending on when their entitlement date falls.


No other changes are required. The Government continues to look at the broader provisions of the Holidays Act and we will keep you up to date as we get announcements on that.


In the interim, contact a member of the Grow HR team for any assistance with updating your master employment agreements.