web analytics

Sick Of It

Written By: - Date published: 11:57 am, August 27th, 2010 - 28 comments
Categories: employment, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

The Employment Relations Act Amendment (2) Bill hasn’t had its first reading yet, so we can’t has had its first reading so you can now bombard the Select Committee with what a load of #&@! it is for a little while longer until the 13th of September for the ERA and 17th September for the Holiday act.  It not only extends 90-day probation to all companies, it:

  • restricts unions’ abilities to visit workplaces (they have to get employer permission first)
  • allows employers to bargain directly with individual employees whilst the union is trying to do a collective deal for them (allowing select employees to be split off in divide and conquer strategies)
  • makes it harder to make and win a personal grievance claim against an employer

All these things need fighting against with a united front by the unions, Labour, the Greens etc, and the more protest the better.

But these aren’t the point of my post.  I’ll probably have another post on those things when it does get to select committee and we can all send our “words of encouragement” to the MPs considering it.


Last week I was thinking about how rubbish sick leave was in this country and how it would be good to slip in an amendment to fix that.  Bill beat me to expressing that thought, but I want to push it more.

Labour or the Greens should add an amendment to the ERA Amendment (2) Bill that you can have sick days in your first 6 months of work, and that you get 10 days per year.  I personally think you should have more than 10 days, as you do in most European countries, but if the amendment is made to be very reasonable it will look bad for National when they inevitably try to vote it down.

It is ridiculous that you can not get sick in the first 6 months of employment.  If you started a new job shortly before winter (like I just did), it is inevitable that one might get a few sniffles in the first 6 months.  Fortunately my employer is reasonable on such issues, but many aren’t.  And for those on low wages a day without pay isn’t feasible – best to come in and infect the workmates if you can get out of bed.

Even David Farrar thinks that 10 days sick leave per year is very reasonable.  He claims not to know an employer who doesn’t give 10 days, but such is the joy of living in a Thorndon Bubble.  From my asking about it was hard to find an employer who did give as many as 10 days.

Such an amendment would be in stark contrast to National’s proposed sick leave policy and would show them up as the stingy suspicious lot that they are.

[lprent: Updated the first paragraph because the acts have had their first reading.

You can make submissions with the CTU's help through the fairness.org.nz website,
Holidays Act submission help will also be online shortly. ]

28 comments on “Sick Of It ”

  1. Carol 1

    What is the law regarding sick leave on short term contracts?

    • The Voice of Reason 1.1

      No sick leave under the Holidays Act for the first 6 months. Some employers may allow it to be written into the contract and some union agreements have better arrangements. But, basically, temps, casuals and short term contractors don’t get sick leave as a right until they’ve had six months continuous service. A length of service they will probably never achieve.

  2. A Post With Me In It 2

    While I commend you policy amendments I think your overall plan will not work.

    It requires the MSM to actually report the amendment which has no chance of being added. And they wont of course. And thus this will be a waste of time.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      So you’re just going to give up before it is even attempted? There’s quite a different between trying and failing and failing to try.

      Also, this is actually what the opposition is paid to do, so they should do it.

      • A Post With Me In It 2.1.1

        I am quite often paid/expected to things which are a waste of time.

        Does not make them anything other than a waste of time.

  3. Nick C 3

    How about we change the law to end the union monopoly on collective bargining?

    • KJT 3.1

      How about a law to end all monopoly rents on the economy.
      Power companies, Supermarkets and oil companies would be a good start.

      Follow on with banks and food cartels.

      NZ has the highest cost of capital in the OECD.

      Then worry about Unions, which have very little power since the ECA.

    • Blighty 3.2

      What do you mean ‘union monopoly’ on collective bargaining? That’s like saying soccer players have a monopoly on playing soccer. To collectively bargain, you must be a union by definition, anything else is a fake.

      The only requirements to be a registered union are:

      1-must have at least 15 members (Incorporated Societies Act 1908)
      2-be independent of employers (Employment Relations Act 2000)
      3-have a set of union rules that comply with both the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 and the Employment Relations Act 2000.

      Which of these requirements that a group must satisfy to undertake collective bargaining do you have a problem with? I’m guessing number 2.

      • The Voice of Reason 3.2.1

        Nick also ignores the fact that many employers already collectively ‘bargain’ with their employees. That is, the whole worksite gets told ‘there’s no rise this year. Back to work!’.

    • Its comments like this that make we wonder if we should return to compulsory unionism. At least under compulsory unionism workers conditions regulary improved. Today workers are being crushed and are losing all the rights and conditions they fought for. It also does away with the slimy bludgers who ride on the backs of financial unionists.

      • KJT 3.3.1

        Basically everyone is riding on the backs of rights and freedoms won by Unions in the past.
        However that is part of NZ history which is ignored.

        A few unions abused their monopoly in the 70’s and were derigistered.
        Many businesses have formed cartels and monopolies, but these are ignored even though they have cost us far more than the unions ever did.

        Employers associations are still allowed however and unions such as the Law Society.

    • Its remarks like this that make me wonder if we should return to compulsory unionism .
      At least under compulsory unionism worker conditions improved on a regular basis. Today worker rights are being lost daily.
      It also stopped the slimy bludgers who rode on the backs of financial union members when a work place improvement /wage increase was won.

    • Bored Academic 3.5

      What monopoly? Any group of workers is perfectly free to approach their boss tomorrow and offer to negotiate a standard form contract applying to all those workers. Of course they can’t strike but any group of workers not in a union is probably not going to anyway.

      Opps I suspect you meant bargain as under the ECA when the employer was able to lock out unorganised workers to cut their conditions-silly me!

  4. Lanthanide 4

    My work, which generally has pretty good leave provisions (birthday leave, community leave, study leave, even case-by-case day in lieu for working on weekends even though we’re salaried) has only 6 days of sick leave per year. We do get to accrue them up to 20, however.

  5. Could you correct the first para of your article? The Bill had its first reading last week and submissions are open – deadline is 13 September (gee, thanks) for ERA and 17 September for Holidays Act.

    You can make submissions with the CTU\\\’s help through the fairness.org.nz website: http://fairness.org.nz/onlinesubmissioner

    Holidays Act submission help will also be online shortly.

  6. Teaching has different system based on service and the fact we are surround by dirty/germ infested children 😉

    In my 5 year of teaching and I have 46 sick days (minus some I’ve taken) next year I go up to 92 days. If I keep teaching for 30+ years I will have 306 sick days (minus any taken) but we don’t get them paid out when we leave teaching.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    From my asking about it was hard to find an employer who did give as many as 10 days.

    That’s my experience. The norm is 5 days, i.e. the absolute minimum, and it just isn’t enough. Come down with a cold, which can happen multiple times a year, and you should be taking 3 days off. Not swilling drugs and going to work.

  8. Jim Nald 8

    Another week passes and NZ is subjected to yet another shonky Jonkey policy.

  9. Lats 9

    From my asking about it was hard to find an employer who did give as many as 10 days.

    My first full-time job after uni had 10 sick days per year, and we were able to accumulate them. One of my workmates left after 5 years on the job and he had never taken a sick day in that entire time. Strangely he had all 50 sick days payed out when he left. This is par for the course with unused annual leave, but I’ve never since encountered an employer who pays out unused sick leave. I’ve also never since found an employer who offers more than 5 sick days per year, nor one who includes sick leave in the first 6 months. And when you start work in a school you really need sick leave in the first 6 months, you get competely bombarded by every cold and flu going around. Luckily my employer is very understanding in this regard, so even though it isn’t included in my contract they had no issue with me taking a day or two to get better.

    • Lanthanide 9.1

      My aunt in the US pretty much never gets sick nor takes sick leave. Her employers have recognised this by giving her 1 day extra annual leave per year.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruapehu cycle trails gets PGF boost
    The spectacular Mountains to Sea cycle trail in Ruapehu District will receive $4.6 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for two additional trails, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is an exciting development for the local community, and one that will provide significant economic opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Update to air border order strengthens crew requirements
    Additional measures coming into effect on Monday will boost our defence against COVID-19 entering New Zealand through the air border, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “As part of our precautionary approach and strategy of constant review, we’re tightening the requirements around international aircrew,” Chris Hipkins said. The COVID-19 Public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • A true picture of Māori business activity
    A better picture of the contribution Māori businesses make to the economy will be possible with changes to the way information is collected about companies and trading enterprises. Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced a new option for Māori enterprises who are part ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF funding for Taranaki projects
    The South Taranaki museum, a New Plymouth distillery and a Pasifika building firm will benefit from a Government investment totalling more than $1 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The $1.05m in grants and loans from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will help the recipients expand and create ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fijian Language Week 2020 inspires courage and strength during COVID-19 pandemic
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the theme for the 2020 Fijian Language Week reflects the strong belief by Fijians that their language and culture inspires courage and strength that is strongly needed in times of emergencies, or through a significant challenge like the global COVID-19 pandemic ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Trades training builds on iwi aspirations
    An investment of $2.025 million from the Māori Trades and Training Fund will support Māori to learn new skills while making a positive difference for their communities, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “K3 Development Limited Partnership will receive $2,025,000 for its Takitimu Tuanui apprenticeship programme, which will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago