September 02, 2020
Sick pay rules hinder pandemic fight
The Council of Trade Unions says the current laws around sick pay aren’t fit for purpose in a time of pandemic.
The unions yesterday delivered a 10,000-signature petition to Workplace Relations Minister Andrew Little calling for the legal minimum to be raised from 5 to 10 days a year.
It also asks for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme to be extended and enhanced for another year, for sick leave to be available if people need to care for children, partners or parents, and of an end to the six month stand down before new employees can access sick leave.
CTU president Richard Wagstaff says a lot of people and especially Māori and Pasifika workers can’t afford to miss a day’s pay.
"They’re getting the message which is a good message to stay away from work if you are sick, particularly now, and yet if they have run out of sick leave it's going to cost them to take a day off and stay away from work. Those are conditions that don't make sense at all. Those barriers just aren't going to work when we are trying to fight a pandemic and we are saying really they don't work any time. It is just insufficient and we can do better than that," he says.
Mr Wagstaff says low statutory minimum working conditions are a subsidy for bad employers.
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