The Holidays Act review - what can we expect?
As we celebrate Easter and enjoy the long weekend, it’s worth considering the challenges around holiday leave that our organisations are likely to face this year. Many employees have accrued their annual leave thanks to lockdowns and a general reluctance to travel. This is set to change, as the re-opening of international borders will hopefully result in a rush of applications for annual leave. Many employers could be facing a difficult juggling act in the year ahead.
Since 2018, The Holidays Act Taskforce has been reviewing the Holidays Act and last year they presented 22 recommendations to the Government. These recommendations have been accepted and will most likely be enacted this year.
So what are the key changes?
Clearer rules around payslips and formulas to calculate annual leave.
Extensions to who can qualify for bereavement leave
Sick leave, bereavement leave and family violence leave entitlements will apply from the first day of employment.
The changes are designed to make the Holidays Act clearer to both employers and employees. Leave calculations and entitlements have always been a contentious aspect of business life, and there are many examples where employers have had to compensate employees for historical underpayments.
Allowing people time to take a break is essential, and team leaders need to make sure overworked individuals get an opportunity for rest. Equally important is the need to minimise disruptions to business. Forward planning and open discussion over the next few months are key to being prepared.
Get Ready for the Second Wave
If overseas experience is any guide, we might need to prepare for a second wave of Omicron (or another Covid variant) sweeping through NZ this winter. That could mean an increase in absenteeism and sick leave applications. Even though the country has moved to the orange setting, organisations need to be wary of relaxing their safety practices too much.
Most businesses are experts at minimising the spread of Covid through their workplace using various techniques. Flexible rosters and WFH options that reduce the headcount in your office are also good strategies for avoiding out of control absenteeism.
Need help with your Holidays Act obligations? We can help to ensure your business is up to date with your obligations. Contact us to find out how we can help.
For more information on the Holidays Act Review see MBIE