Sick leave is changing

Posted by Ben Whittacker-Cook on 29/07/2021 10:00:00 AM

Everything you need to know from an HR perspective around the new employee sick leave entitlement changes. This article appeared on the Robyn Young HR website. As well as being an Icehouse coach, Robyn is the owner of Robyn Young HR.

Reblog Sick Leave Changes-3

It’s been talked about for a while and you will have probably seen it in the news. From 24 July 2021 employee sick leave entitlements are increasing.

Instead of repeating the details around the legal changes (although important), we want employers to be clear about what they need to do. We have created this guide to help simplify your July (and beyond) payroll headaches. 

Current State

Right now, each eligible employee is given 5 days sick leave after 6 months continuous employment and then an additional 5 days every 12 months following that date.

Future State

Sick leave entitlements are doubling. Instead of 5 days, employees will receive 10 days every 12 months.

What does this mean for your team?

New employees who start from 24 July 2021 onwards will receive 10 days sick leave after their first 6 months of employment and another 10 days every 12 months following that date. 

Current employees will receive 10 days sick leave at their next sick leave entitlement date (or at the end of their first 6 months of employment).  Until then, their sick leave entitlements remain the same. If you want to know when this is, check your payroll system. 

These things are staying the same

  • The maximum amount of unused sick leave that an employee can carry over remains at 20 days, unless you specify more in your employment agreement. Note: this cannot be cashed up if someone leaves.
  • How much someone is paid when they take sick leave.
  • The reasons for needing to take sick leave (i.e. an employee, their spouse/partner or dependents are sick).
  • When you can ask for a medical certificate. 

What you need to do 


  • Update your payroll system to ensure it will give your people the right number of sick days at their next entitlement date. 
  • Your payroll provider should have information / updates available to help you get these changes right. 


  • If you currently offer 10 days sick leave, did you want to increase this or keep it as is?
  • You could offer more than 10 days sick leave as an additional benefit (think attracting new people and retention). 

Employment Agreements 

  • Check your team’s current employment agreements for sick leave and related clauses.  
  • If they need to be changed, write to your team telling them about the change, what it means and when it’s effective from.  
  • Update your employment agreement templates to reflect the changes.

Policies or Procedures

  • If you have any additional documents that talk about sick leave, these will need reviewing and updating. 

Talk to your team 

  • Let your team know about the change and how it actually impacts them.
  • Answer any questions they might have.
  • Give them a letter if that is what you’ve decided to do.  

Confused? No time to deal with this?

We are happy to help. Get in touch with the team and we will guide you through what is needed for your business.

A heads up...

There are major changes to the Holidays Act coming in 2022.  We will let you know what’s happening and what you need to do. 

And last but not least, check out our Facebook and LinkedIn pages for regular (but not too regular) information on all things people.

For information on how capability building programmes, workshops and advisory can help your business,
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For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our blogs

Topics: HR & Employment, The Icehouse, Wellbeing, SMEs, Human Resources, Sick Leave, Legislation, Robyn Young