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Keep An Eye On Sick Leave This Weekend

Media release 3 June 2004

Keep an eye on sick leave this weekend

Employers should be vigilant over sick leave this holiday weekend, warns Business NZ.

Chief Executive Simon Carlaw says there's a concern at abuse of the new Holidays Act that lets employees get penal pay rates if they call in sick on a public holiday for which they were scheduled to work.

"Queen's Birthday holiday on Monday is the next public holiday on which this situation could arise," Mr Carlaw said. "Some companies reported higher than normal sick leave among employees scheduled to work during Easter and on ANZAC Day, which increased their wage costs substantially.

"The new Act has a definition of 'relevant daily pay' that says you must pay what the employee would have received if he or she had worked. So it's quite possible to throw a sickie and still get the penal rate. The Act also says you don't need a medical certificate for one day's absence.

"Obviously this is an anomaly in the Act that must be fixed. Business NZ has drawn it and other problems with the Act to the attention of Employment Minister and has offered help with improvements to the Act.

"In the meantime, however, some 7-day employers are vulnerable to misuse of the rules by some employees, and should be alert to any unusual incidences of sick leave this weekend."

ENDS

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