Four-day workweek option
To promote work-life balance, the law now enables employees to request flexible working arrangements including part-time work and the completion of any normal workweek in four days instead of five. Employers may refuse such requests if there is a conflict with business operational needs.
Carers’ time off
The law enables employees to use any of their statutory paid leave (annual, sick, etc.) to care for a child (biological and adoptive), parent, or grandparent having healthcare-related issues. Employees are not allowed to take a paid leave longer than 10 days to care for a parent, grandparent, or spouse. The leave may be longer for a child. Employees must notify the employer on the first day of absence and provide proof of the family relationship as well as a medical certificate attesting to the family member’s sickness when leave must be taken for more than three consecutive working days.
The five working days of employer-paid paternity leave has been extended to adoptive fathers of a child under 12 months old. Paternity leave is unpaid for employees who have been employed for less than 12 months.
Female employees are entitled to a three-week employer-paid leave to be taken immediately after a miscarriage. The new legislation introduces an additional five-day leave that must be taken after the existing three-week leave. Both leaves are fully paid by the employer and subject to the provision of a medical certificate.
Annual leave carry-over
Prior to the new law, employees who did not use their accrued annual leave at the end of a calendar year only had the option to request compensation for the unused leave. The new law introduces the option to carry forward unused leave to the following year. Employees are required to request the new option in writing before the end of the calendar year.
Employees will remain entitled to receive compensation for any unused leave on termination of employment.
Employers with 250 workers or more are now required to provide cost-free childcare facilities, either onsite or within one kilometer of the workplace. This new obligation applies to employees with children age three or younger. Childcare facilities must meet the requirements set forth in the Child Day Care Centres Regulations 2022. Employers will be allowed a tax deduction for meeting the requirements.
The boards of publicly listed companies are now required to be at least 25% women.