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I am in New Zealand. My daughter suffers from extreme

I am in New...

I am in New Zealand. My daughter suffers from extreme anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. She lives alone a couple of hours from the family centre. We are considering a request to her employer - a major bank, to permit 'sick leave' to enable her to recover. Our concern is that her position will be held open for her - not whether or not she will be paid. Can you help? P.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?

Not yet - we are attempting to devise a common approach.

Lawyer's Assistant: Are you an "at will" employee? Do you belong to a union?

Not a member of a union.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

No - but I would like to know where you are. Thanks,.

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
1/16/2018
Chris The Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 23,411
Experience: 38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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I am a New Zealand lawyer based in Wellington and will help you with your question today. Please give me a minute to read the question

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All employment contracts prescribed a minimum period of sick leave. Under the standard employment law, she is entitled to 5 days sick leave. Many employment contracts provide greater periods of leave, although all of them will require medical certificates. So in the case of her employer you need to get a copy of her employment contract to find out who is sick leave entitlement. It is possible that they would be willing to give her a period of paid sick leave, but then permit her to take unpaid sick leave for another period. Some employers are more liberal than others of course. It is also quite possible that the bank may say that she should resign and they would have no obligation to keep her job open if she was on a longer period of sick leave. But I agree with your approach to negotiate this with the bank on her behalf, because they may be willing to accommodate what she needs. It may be relevant if the stress and issues have been caused by the bank, perhaps because of bullying or something like that. In that situation the bank may be more willing to give her a longer period of sick leave and hold the job, because they have health and safety requirements to prevent stress caused by the workplace

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you Chris. Your answer confirms my expectations. There is an element of bullying contributing to daily stress but it does not pre-date the mental health condition and its impact on the overall position is not clear. It is completely uncertain how long my daughter will need as a recovery period or what degree of recovery is possible. She does have a colleague who has enjoyed the bank's support through a long illness (months if not years) and who has been able to resume work. Does this precedence have any validity?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I should add that my daughter has worked for the bank for a little over 10 years.

The bank may be supportive, and you can discuss this with them. Someone who has been a longer term employee will have built up some goodwill. But the previous employee given generous leave does not establish a binding legal precedent. This is something which can only be negotiated

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thanks Chris - the family will talk it over.Cheers

Thank you for the reply and for using this site. You may ask further questions or rate this answer when you are ready.

Chris The Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 23,411
Experience: 38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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