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Holidays and Leave in Brief

Shelley Yeates
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All employees working in New Zealand are legally covered by the Holidays Act 2003.  Under this Act:

  • Employers must keep accurate records for all employees of the hours worked each day in a pay period and the pay for these hours, the leave accrued, what leave they are entitled to and what leave they have taken,
  • All employees are entitled to annual leave, sick leave and bereavement leave (depending on how long they have been employed by you),
  • All employees get paid leave on public holidays if they would normally work on that date.

If you have the right systems in place, you shouldn’t have too much trouble working out what to pay your employees when they take leave.  With leave it’s important to:

  • Keep all wage, time records, holiday and leave records up-to-date and accurate,
  • Make sure your calculations are correct.  Employment New Zealand have holiday pay calculators on their website,
  • Understand what your employees are entitled to, especially if they work irregular or part-time hours.

For public holidays, if the day falls on a day your employee would usually work, they are entitled to a paid day off, no matter how long they have been working for you.  If they agree to work on a public holiday, you must:

  • Pay them at least time and a half; and
  • Give them another paid day off later (a day in lieu).

Some public holidays are ‘Mondayised’ (or ‘Tuesdayised) if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday and these days are not days that an employee would normally work.

For the upcoming Christmas and New Year public holidays two days fall on Saturday as follows:

  • Boxing Day – 26th December 2020
  • Day after New Years Day – 2nd January 2021

For these days, if an employee does not normally work on the Saturday, the public holidays are ‘Mondayised’ so the following Monday will be treated as the holiday.

If the employee does normally work on the Saturdays, then there is no ‘Mondayisation’ and the public holiday benefits as outlined above will apply to the Saturdays worked.

Employment New Zealand have a lot of good information on their website (www.employment.govt.nz) regarding all types of leave and they have calculator tools for working out what the payments should be.

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