A Christchurch business owner is allowing staff to take mental health days as part of sick leave.

Ami Muir, owner of Pepa Stationery, changed the wording in her staff contracts to allow employees to take sick days off however they want, reports Stuff.

"In my own experience, you take a sick day when you don't feel like coming to work anyway, so why can't we just have those days off? You're given five, take them however you want," Muir said.

Muir told Stuff that restricting sick leave to physical illness was not acknowledging the intricacies of staff needs and hoped her decision would encourage more Kiwi businesses to take a similar approach to staff's mental health.


"New Zealand is getting better at publicly talking about mental health, but from what I've seen in my career it doesn't seem to be translating into the workforce very well," Muir said.

"I just think the more it's discussed, the more normalised it becomes and people will be more comfortable to get help when they need it."

Muir opened Pepa Stationery in October 2017 after moving to Christchurch from Hamilton.