Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, has announced a new policy that will double the amount of annual sick leave in her country from five days to ten days. The legislation, expected to pass by mid-2021, is aimed at relaxing the “tough-it-out” culture that pushes people to overwork at the cost of health. This policy announcement by Ardern comes within a month of her being elected for a second term as the New Zealand PM and was reportedly on her Labour Party’s pre-election promises.

The new policy, announced on Monday, will bring New Zealand at par with Australia in the count of days offered as sick leave. It is reported that Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood will introduce the legislation in the coming weeks. “COVID-19 has shown how important it is to stay at home when people are sick,” he said. “We do need to move past the tough-it-out culture,” he was quoted saying.

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Benefits Of Increasing Sick Leave

Wood further added, “We know businesses benefit too when their staff stay at home when they’re sick – it means bugs don’t spread, leading to fewer absences and increased productivity… The Bill also keeps the current maximum entitlement of any unused sick leave at 20 days annually, which will help make it easier for businesses to implement.”

The policy seeks to improve employee productivity in workplaces, which may otherwise be hampered by people working when unhealthy. “Respondents to the 2015 American Working Conditions Survey who reported working while sick estimated that this reduced their productivity by around 20 per cent on average, and an Australian study has found the healthiest workers are up to three times more productive,” Wood said.

Also Read: Should We Idolise Women For Giving Up Their Maternity Leave?

Jacinda Ardern In Recent News

Jacinda Ardern, the 40th Prime Minister of New Zealand, has been in office since 2017 and is the youngest person to ever occupy this role. As the leader of the country’s ruling Labour Party, Ardern has been lauded for her swift call to action against COVID-19 and her leadership has been hailed as one of the most effective this year.

Recently, she was recognised globally for introducing an “incredibly diverse” cabinet during her second term as New Zealand PM. The cabinet is populated by gay, indigenous, and multiracial people. Read more here. 

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