Understanding ACC absence

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Delving into the ins and outs of ACC leave and payment can be a challenge. The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) steps in to provide assistance when accidents or injuries occur, so understanding your obligations to stay compliant and lend crucial support is key.

ACC serves as a government-backed safety net, offering aid to anyone who sustains an injury in New Zealand, regardless of whether it happened on the job or off-duty. From covering medical expenses to rehabilitation and compensating for lost earnings, ACC’s scope is comprehensive.

The process

In case of a workplace injury, your employee should notify you and complete a health and safety incident report for investigation and risk management. They will also need to visit the doctor for a medical certificate indicating whether they need time off work, and for how long along with any accommodations. If the injury occurred outside of work, it’s treated like regular sick leave.

ACC leave

When an employee gets injured at work and needs time off to recover, ACC Leave comes into play. This provides the employee with 80% of their pre-injury earnings, easing the financial burden during their recovery phase. Initially, the employer covers ACC leave for the first week before ACC takes over. The employee can also request to top up the remaining 20% of their sick leave.

What it means for you

Managing workload and handling extended absences become primary concerns for employers dealing with injury-related absences. Due to the unpredictable nature of injuries, forecasting the duration of an employee’s absence can be challenging, especially if non-emergency surgery is required.

Preparation is key

Establishing a risk management plan for key roles, determining how to cover extended absences, defining criteria for a safe return to work, and exploring light-duty options are all proactive steps worth considering with a health and safety expert.

Coming back to work

As your employee makes strides in their recovery journey, transitioning back to work, even on a part-time or modified basis, can be an option. While ACC provides financial support for return-to-work plans, not all roles or industries can accommodate this approach, particularly in small businesses lacking alternative work options. You can tell ACC that your employee cannot return until they are fully fit to resume their duties.

Employer duties

Throughout the process, employers are tasked with keeping roles open and collaborating with employees and ACC to facilitate a safe return to the workplace. However, in cases of prolonged injuries with uncertain prognoses, employers aren’t expected to indefinitely hold positions open.

Effectively navigating ACC leave and payment entails a solid grasp of processes and requirements. By offering support to employees throughout the ACC claims process, facilitating leave, and maintaining transparent communication, employers not only ensure compliance but also underscore their commitment to employee well-being and safety.

When to talk to us

Should an employee’s ACC leave extend beyond four weeks (or require a second medical certificate), please call us so we can discuss the situation and provide guidance. We have managed hundreds of ACC absences so have the experience to guide you through this often protracted process.


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