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What is your Sick Leave entitlement? NZ lawyer defines your employment rights
Jay-Jay & Flynny
Jay-Jay & Flynny

What is your Sick Leave entitlement? Paul Flynn Investigates your employment rights

Is it possible for a boss to reject your sick leave? Where and how are you allowed to use it?
28 September 2023 6:31PM

Most workers in New Zealand are entitled to 10 days of sick leave a year. But how can you use your sick leave, and in what situations can a boss approve or deny sick leave?

Part-time investigative radio host and full-time distracted coworker Paul Flynn delved into this perplexing question after a friend of his was disputing their sick leave entitlement.

"Sick leave, in essence, is paid time off when an employee is unable to work due to illness, injury, or the responsibility of caring for someone else who is sick or injured," explains employment lawyer Jon Beck from Rainey Collins.

Typically, employees who have worked with the same employer for six months are entitled to ten days of sick leave. But what qualifies as "sick"?

"It's severe enough that you should see a doctor," Jon defines. "And for that doctor to provide a medical certificate confirming the incapacity."

"After a continuous period of three days, the employee must provide a medical certificate at their own expense. Refusing to do so or simply not doing it could lead to disciplinary action. So, if you're sick for just one day and your boss asks for a medical certificate, you're not obligated to provide one unless you're off work for three days."

Unfortunately, sick leave can only be used to care for human dependents, not for pets like Jay-Jay's anxious Sydney Silky, Kayne.

Listen to the full in-depth investigation by Paul Flynn on Sick Leave in the podcast highlight above.

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