Would you allow employees to donate their annual leave?

by |
Caring for a seriously ill child has become a lot less stressful for working parents in France with the passing of a new law.

The French government has made it legal for the country’s workers to donate their paid annual leave to colleagues with seriously ill children.

According to The Telegraph the law came into being after a local man, Christophe Germain, was generously donated 170 paid days leave by colleagues to care for his 11-year-old son who was battling cancer and eventually died from the disease.

The option has been present in some of France’s private companies but the passing of the law by the senate extends it to those in the public sector and allows for the days to be donated anonymously.

Could employees do the same here? Minter Ellison Rudd Watts employment law specialists Christie Hall told HRM there is nothing in the Holidays Act that covers this.

“Arguably an employee would be able to request to cash up a week’s annual leave entitlement and, if the employer agreed to the request, gift the resulting cash entitlement to a colleague.  However, the gifting would be a private arrangement between the relevant employees and outside the bounds of the employment relationship,” Hall said. “Equally, a company could provide an employee with additional paid or unpaid leave, but this would need to be done on an equitable basis (to avoid issues of discrimination and unjustified disadvantage) and with regard to the precedent that it would set.”

Hall said while the legislation is interesting it would likely pose a number of issues if bought in here such as:
  • What if an employee was unpopular with their colleagues - is that any justification for providing them with less support during a particularly difficult time? 
  • What if an employee donated leave and then their own child fell ill – could they then try to recoup the leave? 
  • If an employee took donated leave are they then under an obligation to donate their own leave to their colleagues in return? 
  • If an employee donates leave and then suffers from work related stress due to not taking sufficient breaks, what is the company’s liability?
Do you think New Zealand employees should be able to donate their annual leave to colleagues in need?

HRD Forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Name (required)
Comment (required)
By submitting, I agree to the Terms & Conditions