Holidays and other leave Entitlements

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Holidays and other leave Entitlements

August 15, 2012

It is the employers responsibility to keep track of all staffs holidays and other leave entitlements. This proves a challenge form some employers many of whom use manual diary systems or struggle with complicated payroll software. The following briefly lists the holidays and other leave entitlements in New Zealand as at August 2012:

Public Holidays

  • Employees are entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday if it would otherwise be a working day for them.
  • If an employee works on a public holiday and it is their normal working day, they are entitled to another paid day off in lieu as well as whatever pay has been agreed to in their contract for working on a public holiday. The minimum requirement is payment of time and a half for the time actually worked on that day.
  • An employee who does not normally work on the day the public holiday falls, and does not work on that day, is not entitled to a payment for that day e.g. a part-time employee is not entitled to a payment for Good Friday if they do not work on Fridays.

Annual Holidays

  • All employees are entitled to a minimum of four weeks’ paid annual leave per year after the first year of employment.
  • Employees must be allowed to take two weeks continuous leave if the employee so requests.
  • The employee and employer can agree in writing to pay out a portion (for maximum of one week) of the employee’s entitlement to annual holidays.
  • Annual leave must be calculated at the greater of the ordinary weekly pay or the employee’s average weekly earnings over a 12-month period before the annual holiday is taken.

Sick Leave

  • Both full-time and part-time employees are entitled to a minimum of five days’ paid sick leave after the first six months of continuous employment. Unused sick leave is retained and can be accumulated up to 20 days.
  • If the sickness lasts for a period of three calendar days, the employer has the right to request proof of the employee’s illness or injury.

Bereavement Leave

  • Employees are entitled to two forms of bereavement leave after six months of employment.
  • up to three days’ paid leave on the death of an immediate family member; and
  • up to one day’s paid leave on the death of a person outside the immediate family that causes the employee to suffer a bereavement.
  • Both types of bereavement leave can be taken at any time i.e. not necessarily immediately after death or on consecutive days.

 “Immediate family members” are defined as an employee’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild or the spouse’s parent. If there has been a multiple fatality, the employee is entitled to three days’ bereavement leave for each death.

Maternity Leave

Mothers (who has been in full time employment for previous 12 months and meets certain criteria) is entitled to:

    • 10 days special leave; and
    • 14 weeks paid (not by employer!) parental leave which can be transferred to the father
    • 52 weeks unpaid extended leave (including the 14 weeks of paid parental leave) which can be transferred to the father


Fathers/partners entitled to:
  • two weeks  unpaid paternity leave.
  • any additional leave transferred from mother


There is a positive requirement on employers to inform employees about their entitlement under the new Act and to advise them that they can access further information from the Department of Labour, viz, Employment Relations Service on 0800 800 863 or its website

Its a lot for employers to keep on top of, so its no wonder many feel bogged down by paperwork.

FlexiPayroll clients do not need to worry as we take care of everything for them and keep staff updated via regular payslips so that they know how much leave they have used up.

Call us on 0800 88 70 70 to discuss outsourcing your payroll

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