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Employee Leave

What are the different kinds of leave an employee is entitled to?

• Annual Leave
• Sick Leave
• Bereavement Leave
• Parental leave

Click here to download a Leave Request Form

What are the minimum leave and holiday entitlements for employees?

All employees, regardless of their classification (i.e. including part time, full time, fixed term and 'casual') are entitled to at least:
• Four weeks of paid annual holidays (sometimes referred to as annual leave) after every 12 months of continuous employment for their employer, for rest and recreation. (Some employees, who meet specific criteria may agree in their employment agreement to be paid annual holidays on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis)
• Up to 11 public holidays each year, (if they are days they would otherwise work). These are days of national, religious, or cultural significance. Employees should be able to take them as leave, where possible
• Access to sick leave and bereavement leave:

  • after six months of current continuous employment with the same employer, or
  • after working for the employer for six months for an average of 10 hours per week, and at least one hour every week, or 40 hours in every month.

If an employee works on a public holiday, they must be paid for their hours worked at the rate of at least time and a half. If the day is an otherwise working day for them, they will also be entitled to a paid alternative holiday (unless they are employed to work only on public holidays).

How much annual leave is my employee entitled to?

All employees are entitled to a minimum of four weeks (or 20 days) of annual leave per year. This is pro-rated for employees who work less than 40 hours per week.
For example, if the employee works 20 hours per week, their annual leave entitlement will be four weeks at 20 hours a week or 80 hours in total.

Can I pay my employee’s annual leave on a pay-as-you-go basis?

In limited circumstances, some employees may be paid holiday pay at the rate of not less than 8% of their gross earnings with their regular pay instead of being provided with four weeks annual holidays each year.
This can only happen if:
• The employee is on a genuine fixed-term employment agreement of fewer than 12 months
• The employee works so intermittently or irregularly that it is impractical for the employer to provide them with four weeks annual holidays.

As a caution, if annual holidays are paid with regular pay and do not meet the above requirements, then the employee remains entitled to 4 weeks paid annual holidays in addition to the ‘holiday’ payment they have already received.

Can my employee cash in their annual leave?

Employees can cash in up to one week of their minimum entitlement of annual leave due per year provided the accrued leave is over 12 months old.

Click here for an Annual Leave Cash In Form

How much sick leave is my employee entitled to?

All employees are entitled to sick leave if:

• They have six months’ current continuous employment with the same employer, or
• They have worked for the employer for six months for:

  • an average of 10 hours per week, and
  • at least one hour in every week or 40 hours in every month.
Every 12 months after meeting the above, each employee gets at least 10 days’ sick leave. If in any year the employee doesn’t meet the criteria, then they don’t get any new sick leave entitlement. However, they can use their sick leave balance which may have carried over.
An employee may re-qualify for sick leave as soon as they meet the criteria.
An employee can accumulate up to 20 sick days a year.
An employment agreement can’t give less sick leave benefits than are provided under the Holidays Act 2003. However you can agree to give more. For example, an employer can choose to provide an entitlement to sick leave from the start of the employee’s employment.

How much bereavement leave is my employee entitled to?

Bereavement leave gives an employee time to grieve and to take care of matters to do with loss. This can be taken at any time and for any purpose relating to a death, and doesn’t have to be used straight away or on consecutive days.
Employers often agree to giving employees additional bereavement leave above the minimum entitlement, depending on the circumstances. For example, if a tangi or funeral is taking place over several day and/or is a long distance away.
All employees (permanent, fixed-term, part-time and casual) can use bereavement leave if:
• They have worked for the employer continuously for six months or
• They have worked for the employer for six months for an average of 10 hours per week, and at least one hour in every week or 40 hours in every month.

Each employee gets bereavement leave for a minimum of:
• Three days per death if a spouse or partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or spouse or partner’s parent dies.
• One day on the death of another person if their employer accepts they’ve had a bereavement.

This is based on:

  • how close they were with the deceased person
  • whether they have lots of responsibilities for the arrangements for the ceremonies relating to the death
  • if they have any cultural responsibilities in relation to the death.

Employees are entitled to bereavement leave every 12 months as long as they meet the above criteria. If they don’t meet the above criteria due to changes in work, they are not entitled to bereavement leave. However, the employee may re-qualify when they do meet the six month requirement.

What is an alternative holiday?

If an employee has to work on a public holiday, an alternative holiday gives them another day off at a different time.
Some people call alternative holidays ‘lieu days’ or ‘days off in lieu’, but those terms can also refer to other types of leave, so it is recommended to call alternative holidays by their correct name.

When is my employee entitled to an alternative holiday?

An employee is entitled to an alternative holiday if:
• They work on a public holiday that would otherwise be a working day for them. If an employee works on a public holiday that would not otherwise be a working day for them, they are not entitled to an alternative holiday, but they are still entitled to be paid at the rate of at least time and a half for the hours they work, as discussed in the example below
• They are on call on a public holiday that is an otherwise working day for them, and they have to limit their activities on the day to the extent that they haven’t enjoyed a full holiday. For example, if the employee is required to stay at home all day, but is not called out, the employee is entitled to a full day’s paid alternative holiday if they would have otherwise worked on that day. The employee is entitled to the whole working day off work on the day they take an alternative holiday. This is regardless of how many hours they worked on the public holiday.

Example An employee normally works eight hours every Monday, but on a public holiday which falls on a Monday, they only worked for two hours. They get paid for the two hours worked at the rate of at least time and a half for working on the public holiday. They also get a whole working day off as an alternative holiday, on full pay. This means that if they take the alternative holiday on a day that they would otherwise have worked eight hours, they would be paid for the full eight hours for the alternative holiday.

Remember if an employee works on a public holiday which is not an otherwise working day for them, they must be paid for the hours they worked at no less than time and a half, but they are not entitled to an alternative holiday.

When is an employee not entitled to an alternative holiday?

Employees don’t get an alternative holiday if they:
• Work on a public holiday and that day would not otherwise be a working day for them, or
• Are on call on a public holiday but are not required to restrict activities, and they are not called out (so don’t work), or • Are only employed to work or to be on call on public holidays.

For example, an employee who is only employed to work at the racetrack for the Waitangi Day meeting has no entitlement to an alternative holiday, but the employee must still be paid at least time and a half for the hours they work on the public holiday.

Casual employees are not entitled to an alternative holidays as they don’t have a regular work pattern but they are entitled to be paid for their hours worked at the rate of at least time and a half.

Can my employee cash in their alternative holidays (days in lieu)?

If more than 12 months have passed since the employee earned their alternative holiday, the employee can request that the alternative holiday be paid out (cashed up) without the need for them to take the time off work.

My employee worked on a public holiday but the hours are not showing as ordinary hours paid on the payslip

Hours worked on a public holiday are not included in the Ordinary Pay on the payslip.
They are recorded as Public Holiday Worked x1.5 as shown below:

Ordinary Pay                            33.50 Hours @ 21.5000           $720.25
Public Holiday Worked x1.5      2.50 Hours @ 21.5000 x1.5     $80.63

How do I find out my employee’s leave balance?

Your employee’s holiday and alternative leave balance should be visible at the bottom of their payslip under Additional Information as in the example below:

Additional Information Holiday Balance 86.00 Hours
Alternate Days                                               9.00 Days

You can request a Leave Balance Report for all your employees by contacting our CEC. The report will show all the leave balances including Annual Leave and
Alternative holidays.