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Sickies to be a thing of the past?

11:30 AEST Mon Jul 19 2010
Sickies could be a thing of the past if the Government’s employment law changes go ahead
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By MSN NZ Money staff

Sickies could be a thing of the past if the Government’s employment law changes go ahead.

Under current laws staff have to provide their employer with a medical certificate after three consecutive days off work, but changes would mean bosses could demand a certificate after just one day.

Employers would be required to pay the medical fee for the certificate.

Prime Minister John Key formally announced the Government's changes to employment law at the National Party's annual conference over the weekend But some employment lawyers have said it will swing the balance of power in favour of bosses and make it easier for workers to be dismissed.

The proposed changes include the 90 day-trial for new workers to be extended to all companies, employer consent for unions to have access to workplaces, employers allowed to communicate directly with workers during collective bargaining rather than only through a union and changes to holiday pay, the New Zealand Herald reports.

If employers and employees both agree, a worker will be able to trade the fourth week of holiday leave for cash.

The changes will also allow the Employment Relations Authority to dismiss complaints they believe to be trivial.

The proposed changes have been met with staunch opposition from unions and the Labour and Green parties.

User comments
It's good to see my National vote is making a positive change. From an HR perspective I can say that while many people use their sick leave for genuine reasons, there can be staff within companies who abuse their entitlement. Obviously companies cannot be unreasonable, and often excess leave is granted when required - but if it is queried by the company, and the individual is genuinely sick, why should getting a medical certificate be an issue? Especially if it is at the employers cost. 90 Day trial? Perfect! I applaud the government. Why should this only apply to small covmpanies when it is usually the larger organisations that have their hands tied with unions and policy?! I imagine you would only be concerned by this if you are a person who thinks an employer would let you go if given half a chance... Hmm... Lastly, give companies some rights! Afterall, it is their invested money, their reputation and their company name, don't perform in 90 days? Why should they carry that burden
Like any system it's open to ripoff's. I knew lots of people who saw sick leave as an extra to annual used it if sick or not. The only way to sort this nonsense is to promote honest and fair dealings. As long as their are rich and poor, greed will continue to run it's course and nothing will change.
To all the New Zealanders who voted for the National Party at the last elections, Congratulations. Your votes have costed many people their livelihoods. Most, if not all companies throughout our beautiful country will suffer tremendously. We as individuals can not predict when we or any member of our family will be sick. Medical physicians are not available to see on day 1 so how do you expect workers to foresee a days work while sick.
...at the doctor's just for routine stuff, let alone on the same day you go off sick, for the one or two days you were off sick. Can't ever get one the same day, or outside work hours, or inside work hours because we can't get time off anymore. Then you struggle out of your sick bed the next day and drag yourself into work, and this is how you get repaid. The number of times you've come to work sick and worked through it don't count for anything. Won't be doing that again. I know my employer doesn't trust me, they've shown it enough times, with no good reason from me. I've already had a certificate demanded from me after the first day of illness, and I've never pulled a sickie in my life. I'd love to be able to cash in my excess sick leave, though. "Sickies", Dave is that you? You sound just like someone I once worked under. A 90-day trial would be great for everyone, including all councillors, DHB members, and MPs for a start. Then I'd agree to it.
its about time. being an employer i get sick of staff having sickees. my current staff are great. if they want time off theyll ask in advance and if they have a party or such they will let me know and if they want an hour extra sleepin in the morning thats sweet as long as they give me notice. the law is for the bludgers. ordinary workers dont have to worry. if you are you are probably a bludger. i dont ask my staff for a doctors note even if they have been off for a week because they respect the trust between us.
if that was the case we would have no politicians at all they all would go within the 90 day period cause none of them are any good
At ZACK - Completely agree with you Zack! It should defiantly go both ways, no special treatment for them
About bloody time! I'm sick, (please excuse pun), of people putting pressure on me, just cos they want to take a couple of days off. Why can't we be paid for unused sick time. At least we'd then get something for the extra load we take on, when someone goes, or fakes sickness.
Never thought of the Zac - I will support as well if all Ministers agree to 90 day trial. Will their be other exceptions to this rule I wonder?
I copied the statements below from the labor dept sick leave entitlement. The employer already has the right to ask for proof of illness if they think the employer is not really sick, so why is there a need to change it? I don't see the sense when they already have the right to ask for a medical cert The employer can ask for proof of illness within three calendar days if they have reasonable grounds to suspect the sick leave is not genuine, they inform the employee as soon as possible, and they agree to meet the employee's reasonable expenses in getting this proof. If the employee does not provide proof when requested without reasonable excuse, the employer has the right to withhold the payment for the sick leave period until it is provided.