NZEI Te Riu Roa supports the CTU’s call to improve sick leave entitlements for workers

1 September 2020

NZEI Te Riu Roa is backing the Council of Trade Unions’ 10,000-strong petition to the government calling for an increase in mandated sick leave allowances for workers.

The union says that the issue is important across the education sector, particularly in early childhood where many teachers only receive the statutory minimum of 5 days’ sick leave.

Early childhood teacher Melissa Burgess says 5 days is not enough, as the nature of their work means they are constantly exposed to contagious illnesses and viruses.

“These illnesses often spread quickly between children, teachers and whānau which creates a rapid knock-on effect for everyone in the centre community. If both whānau and early childhood teachers had adequate sick leave provisions, neither group would be forced to go into work sick or take sick children into group care settings.”

“This is critically important in the current climate of Covid-19 and the government’s advice to stay home from work when sick. These guidelines are incredibly hard to follow with the inadequate sick days many of those in the sector have available to them.”

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Liam Rutherford says Covid-19 has exposed the fact that many working parents, including teachers, cannot afford to take sick leave when they need to.

“The current sick leave legislation is woefully inadequate for the working reality of teachers and the whānau they work alongside. Safer sick leave provisions would promote safer environments for our tamariki, both at home and in their schools and centres,” he says.

For more information: