We’ve been getting queries from employers about any major legislative changes they need to be aware of, and when these changes are meant to take effect.
1 April 2021 saw an increase in the minimum wage to $20.00, but other changes have trickled through and there are more to come.
- The Privacy Act 2020 became law on 1 December 2020. The new Act places more responsibility on agencies (including employers) with respect to the collection, storage and provision of personal information. Failure to abide by the new law can result in compliance notices and hefty penalties. We recommend a thorough review of your business’ privacy policies (if you have not done so already), and policies and procedures relating to recruitment, the use of CCTV cameras and drug testing.
- The Holidays (Bereavement Leave for Miscarriage) Amendment Bill received royal assent on 30 March 2021. This means that, where there has been an unplanned end of pregnancy by miscarriage or still-birth, bereavement leave of up to 3 days is now available for the mother and her partner.
- The Holidays (Increasing Sick Leave) Amendment Bill received royal assent on 24 May 2021, increasing the minimum sick leave entitlement from 5 days to 10 days per annum. The position with unused sick leave remains the same: it can be carried over up to a maximum entitlement of 20 days. The changes will become effective two months after royal assent, being 24 July 2021, meaning that new employees employed after this date will receive 10 days of sick leave after 6 months of continuous employment, and current employees will receive 10 days upon reaching their sick leave entitlement anniversary.
- A date for Matariki has been set down for 24 June 2022. However, this change has yet to actually pass into law. We expect legislation to be introduced in the latter half of this year. Again, keep your eyes peeled.
- The Holidays Act Review Taskforce has recently completed its review of the Holidays Act 2003, and has recommended several amendments, which the Government has preliminary accepted. However, don’t expect to see a Bill for these changes until early 2022, where, upon release, it will have to go through the standard Parliamentary process of select committee and readings before receiving royal assent. You can read more about the suggested changes here.
Normally, we wouldn’t advise employers to scramble in preparation for legislation that is still passing through Parliament and the select committee process. However, with a Labour majority government, it is not a question of if, but when. We therefore recommend turning your mind to the changes now to give yourself ample time to prepare.
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