How does New Zealand compare with other Countries around Sick Leave

With the changes to Sick Leave about to take effect in New Zealand, I thought it might be interesting to see how we compare with other countries.  The following information was taken from this website L&E Global and as such we do not guarantee its accuracy and some may have changed due to Covid.

Country Comment
Argentina In the event of sickness leave or injury related to work, the employer must pay the employee’s salary for the first fifteen days. After the fifteenth day, the working insurance company will pay the sick leave to the employee. In respect to accidents or illnesses not related to work, employees who have served for up to 5 years are entitled to 3 months of paid sick leave.
Australia Permanent employees are entitled to accrue 10 days of paid personal/carer’s leave per year, and 2 days of compassionate leave per year (to spend time with a member of their immediate family or household who has sustained a life-threatening illness or injury, or after a death of a member of the employee’s immediate family or household). The term ‘personal/carer’s leave’ effectively covers both sick leave and carer’s leave. Australian law also entitles casual employees to 2 days of unpaid carer’s leave and 2 days of unpaid compassionate leave, but not personal or sick leave.
Belgium It is important to note that there is no difference between sickness leave and disability leave in Belgium. In case of illness or private accident, the employee continues to receive his/her normal salary during a period of thirty calendar days. This is the so-called ‘guaranteed salary’.
Brazil In the event of sickness leave, the employer will be responsible for the employee’s salary during the first fifteen days. After the fifteenth day of absence due to sickness, the INSS will pay a sick leave benefit to the employee. However, the benefit does not correspond to the actual salary, but rather to a specific INSS based calculation made over the last contributions and is capped at approximately BRL 6,100.00. In the event of an injury at work, the employer will be responsible for the employee’s salary during the first fifteen days.
Canada Many jurisdictions also provide a variety of leave based on illness, disability, or the illness or disability of a family member. Employers are generally not required to pay employees for these leaves of absence. Specialised EI coverage is also available for employees who are unable to attend work because of illness because they have taken a compassionate care leave to care for a family member who is gravely ill with a significant risk of death, or a leave to care for a critically ill child, though employers are not required to pay employees during these types of leave.
Chile Chile provides a public and private medical system for employees including preventive and curative health care. The preventive medical service provides for periodic medical checks. When employees are found to suffer a specific illness, they are granted sick leave. During periods of sick leave the employer cannot terminate the labour contract without cause, but the medical system pays the salary starting on the fourth day of illness or the first day in case of leaves exceeding 10 days. A monthly cap applies. This system is funded through employees’ contributions.
China During an employee’s sick leave period, his or her salary will be determined and paid based on the standard of sick pay and sick benefits during the medical treatment period according to state laws and local regulations. If an employee suffers from a non-work-related illness or injury and needs to stop working as a result of medical treatment, a medical treatment period between 3 and 24 months will be granted according to local regulations in the place where the employee works, and based on the employee’s years of service with the current employer and all previous employers (e.g. the employee’s entire employment history).
Colombia In the event of sickness and/or accident of the employee that causes a work incapacity, this situation must be certified by a licensed practitioner or the competent authority, normally chosen by the employee, establishing clearly, the days required for the employee’s recovery and return to work. The remuneration during sickness depends on the origin of the disease or accident:

  • Professional sickness and/or work accident
  • Regular sickness and/or regular accident

Even though after the third day of sickness leave all benefits in money are assumed by the social security system, the law requires that the work incapacities between day 3 and day 180 must be paid by the employer, granting the faculty to the employer for reimbursement from the social security system.

France Where the employee is out of work for sickness, subject to compliance with certain formalities (notably for the employee to submit, within 48 hours, the sick slip to the Social Security office and the employer) and satisfies the requirements, the employee is entitled to receive a daily allowance during his leave, after a three-day waiting period. This allowance will be directly paid to the employer in case of subrogation.  The daily allowance paid for sick leave is 50% of the basic daily wage (on average, the Social Security Daily Indemnity is of EUR 43.40). After 30 days of sick leave, the daily allowance is increased to 66.66% of the basic daily wage, if the employee has at least three children. After 3 months, the daily allowance will be re-evaluated.
Germany After four weeks of employment, the employee is entitled to continued payment by the employer in case of sickness, for a duration of six weeks. The regular payment, which the employee would have earned without sick leave, needs to be paid by the employer. In small companies with less than 30 employees, the employer may participate in an apportionment procedure, which allows for a repayment of sick pay. Generally, the statutory sickness allowances are paid in the amount of 70 % of the regular remuneration for a period of 78 weeks.
India Typically, sick leave cannot be carried forward or encashed and is not subject to any minimum service requirements. However, in certain States (e.g. Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana) employees could be eligible to encash their sick leave at the time of their discharge from employment.
Italy In case of sickness and disability, the employee is entitled to a period of sick leave, and during this time, the employee cannot be dismissed, unless for just cause or closure of the company. At the end of the leave, the employee is entitled to come back to the same job position he/she left and on the same/better conditions.
Japan While there is no legislation concerning sick or disability leave arising from employment, many employers implement their own rules regarding sick leave and/or payment during periods of sickness.
Mexico An employee is entitled to sick leave depending on the type of illness and degree of disability. The IMSS, not the employer, pays the employee’s income during the leave. There is no mandatory unpaid medical leave of absence in Mexico. If the employee needs an unpaid medical leave of absence due to a condition not recognised by the IMSS, then the employer has the discretion to grant the leave.
Netherlands Employers are obliged to continue to pay the salaries of sick employees for the first two years of illness. The employer is obliged to pay 70% of the employee’s salary. The salary paid by the employer during the first year of sickness cannot be less than the minimum wage. For the second year, the minimum wage limit does not apply.
Norway When an employee has a right to leave due to sickness, he also has a right to sick pay (the salary is fully compensated), which is customarily split between the employer and the National Insurance Scheme. The employee is protected against dismissal on the grounds of sickness leave, during the first 12 months after the beginning of the period of absence due to such reasons.
Poland While an employee is unable to work due to an illness or isolation caused by a contagious disease, lasting in total up to 33 days in a calendar year, and in the case of an employee who has reached 50 years of age, lasting in total up to 14 days in a calendar year, the employee retains the right to 80% of his/ her remuneration.
Portugal Employees are entitled to receive a sickness allowance from the social security system when temporarily unable to work due to illness. The sickness leave suspends the employment contract as of 30 days and has no maximum period. Most employees are entitled to 1095 days of paid sick leave, independent workers and research fellows to 365 days of paid sick leave. The amount of the sick leave allowance depends on several factors and will range between 55% and 100% of the worker’s reference remuneration.
Russia For periods of sick leave (to be confirmed by a medical certificate), an allowance is paid to the employee instead of her salary; the allowance is paid at the expense of the Social Insurance Fund, with the exception of the first three days, which are paid for by the employer.

The amount of the temporary disability allowance depends on the length of service of the insured person and may be 60%, 80% or 100% of the average wage on which insurance premiums are calculated (but cannot exceed the legal maximum).

Singapore Employees are entitled to paid sick leave if they have worked for at least 3 months with the employer. Where the employee is between 3 to 6 months of service, the sick leave entitlement is pro-rated.
Spain Temporary disability benefits are daily subsidies that cover the worker’s loss of income due to any sickness such as common diseases or non-work-related injuries, occupational diseases or work-related injuries. The maximum duration of the benefit is 365 days, but it can be extended for a further 180 days if, during this period, the person is expected to be cured.
Sweden The employee is entitled to mandatory sick pay payable by the employer, provided that the employment is expected to continue for more than 1 month or if the employee has been working for more than 14 consecutive days. Sick pay is paid by the employer during days 1-14 at 80 percent of salary, but the employer is entitled to make a deduction (Sw. karensavdrag) of approx. 20 percent of the employee’s employment benefits during a week. If the employee suffers sickness again within 5 days, the previous sick leave period will continue.

As from day 15, the employee may be entitled to compensation payable by the state.

United Kingdom Employers are required to pay Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP“) to employees who are off work due to illness, after the third day of absence (subject to certain qualifications). The current rate of SSP is GBP 95.85 per week from April 2020, for a maximum of 28 weeks. Employers often supplement SSP with contractual sick pay for a specified period.
United States Employees may be entitled to unpaid sick leave under the FMLA, which allows eligible employees to take up to twelve (12) weeks’ unpaid medical leave in a 12-month period for a serious health condition that prevents the employee from performing the functions of his or her job. Though there is no national law guaranteeing paid sick leave, a number of states, counties, and cities require employers doing business within their boundaries to offer paid sick leave. Further, employers must offer paid sick leave to employees working on certain federal contracts.



Sick Leave by Country

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