July 23, 2021
Sick pay relief for Maori workers
Sick leave is about to change – and for many Māori workers that will mean a big improvement on their current conditions.
From tomorrow the minimum paid sick leave increases from 5 to 10 days for permanent employees, as long as they have been in their job for six months.
Council of Trade Unions president Richard Wagstaff says unions will continue to push for sick leave entitlements to start from day one, perhaps through the upgrade of the Holidays Act, and for it to also apply to the many workers who are misclassified as contractors.
He says Covid-19 showed how important it is that people stay home when they are unwell, not just for the individual, but for the workplace and the wider community.
The change fixes an unfair difference in the workplace.
"Well-paid white collar jobs tend to have sick leave or even unlimited sick leave in their agreements, much more generous provisions. Lower paid jobs and certainly more casualised jobs and so on, tends to be more Māori in those jobs so I imagine the data supports the fact it will be more important for Māori than most people and we certainly think it will be more important for people who aren't in unions," he says.
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