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Thread: Boss doing illegal things??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Windy Wellington, NZ
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    Default Boss doing illegal things??

    Hi,

    Can anybody confirm if bereavement leave is the same as sick leave?

    i.e. if I have 5 days a year of sick leave, and then my Dad dies and I take 5 days bereavement leave, this comes 'out of' my sick leave?

    My boss has just told me that that's the case, as I took bereavement leave in April when my Dad died, and have now taken two days off sick. He's saying I therefore have no sick day left ('you used them all for bereavement').

    I can't find any reference to this being the case in my contract, OR under the Holidays Act 2003, and as far as i'm aware they're two separate things (much like you wouldn't expect 'jury leave' to come out of 'annual leave') but I want to have my facts straight before I fight this one. Any advice on what to do is greatly appreciated too.

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    36,003

    Default

    They are listed separately here http://employment.govt.nz/er/holiday...eave/index.asp (see the other one in the side bar) and here. http://www.dol.govt.nz/workplace/kno...reavementleave

    And here, on this page addressed to employers, http://employment.govt.nz/infozone/b...sick-leave.asp there is this paragraph.
    Before April 2004, both sick leave and bereavement leave were combined as “special leave”. They now need to be separated into sick leave and bereavement leave, so update your employment agreements if you need to.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    UK > Silverwood, Whitby, NZ
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    Default

    How long had you worked for this employer when you took time off when your dad passed away?

  4. #4
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    Jun 2013
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    Default

    JandM yep that's what I thought! Perhaps my employer isn't keeping up with law changes? They're listed separately in my contract from April 2015, though...

    RedVee, it's over two years now, so I shouldn't be affected by any time-related stipulations.

    I'm feeling more and more convinced that they're supposed to be two separate 'leaves' and quite angry that they would try to pull the wool over my eyes.

    If I speak to my employer on Monday and cite those websites and the Holidays Act, and they still refuse to budge, what would be my next step?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Windy Wellington, NZ
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    I have another question, actually:

    I was away during the whole of April, but my 'bereavement leave' was for the first week (Monday 4th through Friday 8th).
    The Holidays Act says that if an employee is 'bereaved' during the time a public holiday occurs, they're also entitled to that public holiday being paid, and not taken from any other 'leave' pots. Anzac Day fell on Monday 25th April this year - during the time I was away. However, i'm not clear on whether I was 'bereaved' during this time or not.

    In my mind, I was, since I took the whole month, but would I only have been 'bereaved' for the first five days ('bereavement leave') in the eyes of the law? And therefore not entitled to having the 25th of April as a paid, unworked, public holiday?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    36,003

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    Try the Citizens' Advice Bureau. I haven't seen anyone on the forum with this kind of experience to share. And you'd want to be sure of your ground, I'm sure, because of not causing conflict unless you're definitely within your rights.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Christchurch
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    How much bereavement leave are you entitled to? A full week would be very generous.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Windy Wellington, NZ
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    Bozeman, i'm entitled to three days paid, but given that 3 days doesn't even cover travel to and from the UK, much less spending actual time there, my employer agreed to extend it to five days paid.
    JandM, good idea, i'll phone my local branch tomorrow as they're open Saturdays, or may even pop in if I get a chance, and will see what they say. I think there's also a free community law centre around here so I can try them on Monday too if it comes to it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Location
    Essex, UK
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    Do you have an HR department? They could be a point of contact, though having said that, I've found them in general to be a) fairly clueless and b) siding with the employer. However, they should at least be able to point you in the direction of the appropriate law and parts of your contract.

    Regardless of whether you are legally entitled to 3 or 5 days, I find it unbelievably petty of an employer to haggle over 2 days of leave when someone lost a parent. Good luck with your attempt to clarify this.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Windy Wellington, NZ
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    dharder, my HR dept consists of just one person, unfortunately, but they would definitely be my next port of call if the initial member of staff refuses to budge.

    I agree it's not exactly what I want to have to be fighting over!!

    I've spoken to CAB and they agree that they're definitely two separate instances of leave, so they cannot take my bereavement leave from my sick leave, as i'm legally entitled to 3 of the first and 5 of the second. I also have written proof that I was granted 5 days of, specifically, bereavement leave, at CEO discretion.

    So if on Monday morning it's not resolved then I have CAB as back up, can cite the Holidays Act 2003 and the amendment of 2004 (where bereavement and sick leave were made separate), the written extension to 5 days (as opposed to 3) bereavement leave, and will get HR involved if necessary. If it comes to it (hopefully not!) I will also drop in at my local Community Law Centre, who give free legal advice.

    The thing that shocks me is if the reason for this mess-up is due to my work not updating their system since 2004...I can't believe that nobody else in the company, given the relatively high staff turn-over in my dept, has suffered a death and needed bereavement leave, because if that has indeed happened then they were conned out of 3 paid days. It also makes me wonder what else hasn't been 'updated'...

    Anyway, many thanks to you all for your support and research on this - ENZ is ALWAYS my go-to place for support and advice and I really can't thank people enough for their time and energy in helping people!!!

    Thanks!!

    (if I don't post in this thread again, assume that it was resolved Monday )

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