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Public holidays

As well as their four weeks of annual leave, employees are entitled to 11 public holidays each year (if the public holidays fall on days they’d normally work). Staff who choose to work on public holidays are entitled to be paid time-and-a-half and get a day’s leave to take later.

Work out if you’re paying your employees properly and doing what’s expected. What you need to know When a public holiday falls on a day your employee would usually work, no matter how long they’ve been working for you they’re entitled to a paid day off. You can only require an employee to work on a public holiday if it’s written into their employment agreement. If they agree to work, you must:

  • pay them at least time and a half and

give them another paid day off later (a day in lieu). Easter Sunday

If you’re a shop owner, your local council may let you open on Easter Sunday. But you can’t make your employees work that day — and they don’t have to give you a reason. If you plan to open on Easter Sunday, you must give your staff written notice of their right to refuse to work at least four weeks in advance, but not earlier than 8 weeks before. Restricted shop trading tool — Employment New Zealand Local council Easter Sunday shop trading policies — Employment New Zealand Easter Sunday is not a public holiday — if you’re trading, your employees will be paid their usual Sunday rate and no paid day off later.

Mondayisation When a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, employees who don’t normally work then will have the following Monday as their paid public holiday. This is known as Mondayisation. These public holidays can be moved to Monday (or in some cases Tuesday) if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday: Waitangi Day — 6 February Anzac Day — 25 April Christmas Day — 25 December Boxing Day — 26 December New Years Day — 1 January Day after New Years Day — 2 January Mondayisation - Employment New Zealand

If your employees work weekends as well as Mondays, they don’t get both days as public holidays — they just get one.

If public holidays fall inside your annual closedown period, you must pay employees for those that fall on days they’d usually work — including weekend public holidays moved to Monday or Tuesday.

Days in lieu (alternative holidays)

Employees who are entitled to a day in lieu get a full day off, no matter how many hours they worked on the public holiday.

They don’t get a day in lieu if:

  • they wouldn't usually have worked that day

  • they only work on public holidays

  • they were on call but didn't have to do anything, and being on call didn't stop them doing what they wanted to do with their day.

If you can't agree on when your employee will take a day in lieu, you can choose a day for them – but you have to give them 14 days' notice. After 12 months, if they still haven’t taken the day off, you can agree with them to exchange the time off for an extra day's pay.

To decide if a day is a day your employee would usually work, use the Otherwise working day calculator. Otherwise working day - Employment New Zealand

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