Last month New Zealanders gained an extra five days statutory sick leave.
Doubling the previous entitlement, it was a big win for burned out employees and reflected a change in culture. Post pandemic, Kiwis are less tolerant of colleagues turning up for work with exotic illnesses.
However, there's a temptation to conflate the increase in sick day allowance with general leave.
Annual leave is given to employees for the purpose of rest and relaxation. Four weeks holiday is the statutory right of every Kiwi, and acknowledgement that everyone needs a break.
However - with a change in number of and attitude towards sick leave for issues such as "burn out" of "health and wellbeing" days - there's perhaps a blurring of the lines. Can we expect more Kiwis to be "pulling sickies"?
Dundas Street employment lawyers predict there's no doubt an increase in entitlement will lead to an increase in sick days being taken.
"Previous research has shown that the more sick leave you have - the more sick leave you took," says Chloe Luscombe, Senior Associate with the law firm.
This doesn't mean that people are using their extra entitlement as extra holiday allowance. Just that people have been mucking through and making do, without the sick days to take. Something that is less tolerated in the Covid-era.
The biggest difference in these types of paid leave - apart from their intended use - is that leave normally needs to be approved in advance.
"Most employers will expect some notice for annual leave," says Luscombe. "The standard is about 14 days."
Whereas injury or illness is normally hard to predict.
"The employee won't know about it until day of - or very close to day of."
Unless of course it is being taken fraudulently, ie, the employee is pulling a sickie.
This can lead to some suspicion on the part of some less generous employers. Particularly if the sick day is tacked on to annual leave claims or following a particularly good midweek snow report.
Compassionate or bereavement leave is again another bucket of paid leave that works differently. There is no maximum annual allowance for this leave.
It wouldn't be appropriate for an employer to stop you from going to a funeral, because you've already had one that year. Bereavement is a protected right for employees, with an entitled minimum of three days paid leave.
Which is why your employer would be understandably peeved if they discovered you were at the beach, and you had invented some personal tragedy to get there.
Abuse of bereavement leave is "serious misconduct" and grounds for termination of employment.
Morally it might not seem equivalent to "pulling a sickie", but employment law weighs them equally on "breach of trust".
"Obviously if you take that dishonestly - nobody's sick or injured and you're just going skiing - that is a breach of trust, which is 'serious misconduct'," says Luscombe
The art of the sickie
Pulling a sickie requires some tact.
Not that misuse of leave could ever be endorsed.
However, turning up to an office with ski goggle marks or a suspiciously rosy tan the day after being supposedly bed-ridden is asking for disciplinary action.
Then there is the question of when are the days you're most likely to be pulled up for a sickie.
"Where someone is absent for three consecutive calendar days - whether or not they are work days - employers can request a medical certificate."
In theory the midweek sickie is more secure than calling in crook the Monday after a holiday or long weekend.
"There have been cases where employees have submitted fraudulent medical certificates," says Luscombe, "but that's another black mark."
A place of work would have to have permission from their employee to verify medical certificates with their doctor, but denying this would be "relatively persuasive evidence".
Yes, you could get a sick note for a "hangover" or self-inflicted sick leave. However, these tend to lead to bigger HR questions.
Luscombe says that - on the whole - Kiwi employers have become more flexible in their leave taking and workers less reluctant to take sick days.
"There's been a shift in how we treat coming to work sick in New Zealand - post pandemic," she says.
Particularly in an office environment, people are less likely to come into work when they're sick.
Also there is a lot more flexibility and acceptance around working from home, for workforces who have spent much of the past year doing so.
There is also a new appreciation for the importance of mental wellbeing from both workers and managers.
"If you're sick or injured it doesn't matter if that's mental or physical. If you're sick, you're sick."
You can try to find a doctor to prescribe more fresh alpine air or a holiday to a ski resort, or you could just take some leave.
Some flexibility from the workplace can go a long way.
"It's not always a requirement that annual leave is planned. If an employee hears about the snow and has leave days to take and wants to take them on short notice - and the employer agrees - the legislation absolutely supports that.
"It's about mutual agreement."