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Holidays and annual leave

Family violence leave

In general, once you’ve been in your job for six months you have the right to take up to 10 days’ paid leave in any one year to help you deal with the effects of family violence.

Who can take family violence leave?

Holidays Act 2003, ss 72B, 72C, 72E, 72G

You can take family violence leave if:

  • you are a victim of family violence, whether the violence is still going on now or happened sometime in the past (even before you started this current job), or
  • a child who lives with you is a victim, or has been a victim, of family violence. This could be your own child or someone else’s. The child doesn’t have to be living with you all the time – it’s enough if they usually live with you, or live with you “periodically” (every second week for example).

If you intend to take family violence leave you have to tell your boss as early as possible before you were supposed to start work or, if that’s not realistic, as early as possible after that.

What proof do I have to give of the family violence?

Holidays Act 2003, s 72G

Your boss can require you to provide proof of the violence if you want to take family violence leave. The law doesn’t say what kind of proof you need to give, but the government’s Employment New Zealand website says the proof can take any form, go to and search “domestic violence leave”.

For example, it could be an official court or police document, like a Protection Order from the Family Court. But Employment NZ says it could also be something less official – for example, a letter from a family violence support service or a support person, or a report from a doctor or nurse.

How much family violence leave can I take?

Holidays Act 2003, s 72H

You have the right to take 10 days’ family violence leave in any one year.

You can’t carry over any of this leave from one year to the next.

How long do I need to have worked at the job before I can take family violence leave?

Holidays Act 2003, s 72D

In general you’re entitled to family violence leave after your first six months of continuous employment.

But even if you haven’t worked there continuously for six months, you’ll still qualify for family violence leave if you have, over a six-month period, worked for your employer for:

  • at least 10 hours a week on average, and
  • either at least one hour every week, or at least 40 hours in every month.

Your employer can agree to allow you to take family violence leave in advance, before you become entitled to it. That leave will then be deducted from the amount you later become entitled to.

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