Understanding Staff Holidays Over Christmas & New Year - 2016-17


The festive season can be a challenging time of year for employers as you try to grapple with the complexities of the Holidays Act and understand employee entitlements. We set out here the requirements specific to the 2016/2017 festive holidays.

Leave Entitlements Public Holidays NZPublic Holidays during a Close Down Period
If a business has a close down period that includes public holidays (as can happen over the Christmas and New Year period) then the employee is entitled to be paid public holidays if the public holidays fall on days which would otherwise be working days for them.

Sunday Workers
If employees normally work on a Sunday then they will be paid for Christmas Day and New Years Day (Sunday 25th December 2016 and Sunday 1st January 2017) but will be entitled to have those days off. If they do work, they will be entitled to 1.5 x their normally hourly rate AND a day off in lieu.

Saturday Workers
There are no public holidays falling on a Saturday during this period.

Monday to Friday Workers
As Boxing Day and the day after New Years Day fall on week days they will be observed on the days they fall (Monday 26th December 2016 and Monday 2nd January 2017).

Most public holidays in New Zealand are subject to “Monday-isation” when they fall on a weekend. Monday-isation is a slang term used to describe how public holidays are observed on a weekday by employees who do not normally work weekends.

As Christmas Day falls on a Sunday it will be observed on Tuesday the 27th of December this year. As and New Years Day falls on a Sunday it will be observed on Tuesday the 3rd of January 2017.

As such, employees do not have to work on Monday 26 December, Tuesday 27 December, Monday 2 January or Tuesday 3 January, but will be paid for those days. As long as Monday and Tuesday would normally be working days for the employee.

If an employee does work any of those four days, they would be entitled to be paid 1.5 x their normally hourly rate AND receive a day off in lieu.

Casual/On Call Workers
Casual/On Call Workers are entitled to receive payment for a public holiday if it would otherwise have been a working day. For example if an employee can show a pattern of working on Sundays, they would more than likely be entitled to be paid for Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Understanding the Holidays Act in New ZealandTransferring the Observance of Public Holidays
Employers and employees can agree to transfer the observance of public holidays to another working day. Any request must be considered in good faith and any agreement must meet minimum statutory requirements.

If you would like to discuss any matters relating to holiday leave entitlements or any other employment related matter, please contact:
Employment law specialist, Carolyn Ranson
Phone on 09 836 0939 or
Email Carolyn.Ranson@smithpartners.co.nz 
                                                         Send an onlline enquiry here.