The new MBIE dumbed down website: https://www.employment.govt.nz/ has been reduced from 1300 to 300 pages.
At a time when employers and payroll need clear leadership and a direction MBIE has decided that less is more! The content in some areas is now so vague it is misleading and I just wanted to highlight one such page stated as “Stress Leave” located under Other Leave: https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/other-types-of-leave/stress-leave/
There is no such leave entitlement in NZ legislation called Stress Leave!
If an employee is stressed to the point they cannot work this would be sick leave which is provided under the Holidays Act 2003.
On this page the heading for the page is “Stress Leave” but when you read the page it refers to sick leave.
By law an employer must provide a safe working environment and that also includes ensuring any of their employees are not harmed by stress caused from the work they undertake. By stating a leave type called Stress Leave it implies that the employer may have caused stress to their employee with a result that they now need to take leave. If this is the case then the employer could be liable for a fine of up to $200,000.
Even though this page does refer to sick leave all the way through MBIE should not even use the term stress leave as it implies it is a leave type and can be used in dealing with this situation. As stated if the employee is stressed to the point they cannot work they should take sick leave.
If the employer wants to provide enhanced leave don’t call it stress leave keep it simple and just add additional entitlement into sick leave provided under the Holidays Act.
The key to all of this is don’t create a work situation where an employee could be subject to harmful stress. An employer should be focusing on being proactive rather than being reactive as the damage has already been done by giving Stress Leave after the fact.
NZPPA supporting payroll since 2007!