What days are public holidays in New Zealand?
You’re entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday if this would otherwise be a working day for you. There are 12 paid public holidays in a year (these are sometimes called “statutory” holidays). These are:
- New Year’s Day
- Day after New Year’s Day
- Waitangi Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- ANZAC Day
- Monarch’s Birthday
- Labour Day
- The local anniversary day
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
What happens if my work is still open on a public holiday?
You can be required to work on a public holiday if:
- it falls on a day that you would normally work, and
- your employment agreement states that you might be required to work on public holidays.
What benefits do I get for working a public holiday?
If you’re required to work on a public holiday, you must be paid at least time and a half for the hours you work. You also must be given an alternative paid day off in the place of the public holiday worked.
You and your employer can agree on when you will take the alternative paid day off. If you and your employer can’t agree, your employer can require you to take the alternative holiday on a particular day, so long as the day is reasonable and you’re given 14 days’ notice.
What if I’m asked to be on call on a public holiday?
If you’re on call on a public holiday, your rate of pay depends on whether you would normally work on that day, and if your activities are impacted by being on call. For example, if you have to stay home or can’t drink alcohol, that would mean your activities have been impacted. If you just need to keep your phone on you but can otherwise go about your day as normal, this wouldn’t count as your activities being impacted.
You’re called out
You’re not called out, but you’ve had to limit your activities for the day
You’re not called out, and you haven’t had to limit your activities
If you would usually work on that day
|You’ll get at least time and a half for your hours worked, and a full day’s paid alternative holiday.||You’re entitled to a full day’s paid alternative holiday||You’ll get normal pay for the public holiday.|
If you wouldn’t usually work on that day
|You’ll get paid time and a half for your hours worked.||You’ll get paid time and a half for your hours on-call.||The day is treated as a normal day off – you won’t get any pay.|
Those rules don’t apply to someone who’s employed to be on call only on public holidays.
Your employment agreement might also include an on-call allowance negotiated with your employer.
What happens if a public holiday falls on a weekend?
If you usually work on that day
If you don’t usually work on that day
If a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday
|You are entitled to a paid day off on that day.||If you usually work on a Monday, you are entitled to a paid day off on the following Monday (this is sometimes called “Mondayising” the holiday).|
|If you don’t usually work on a Monday, you are not entitled to a paid day off.|
If a holiday falls on a weekday
|You are entitled to a paid day off on that day.||You are not entitled to a paid day off.|
Note: Over the Christmas and New Year period, there might be two days in a row that need to be Mondayised. For example, if Christmas falls on a Saturday and Boxing Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday and Tuesday both become public holidays.
If your shift falls on part of a public holiday
If you start work on one day and finish on another (if you work a night shift, for example), and one or both of those days is a public holiday, you and your employer can agree to transfer the public holiday to another 24-hour period that starts or ends on the public holiday and covers your entire work shift. The agreement must be in writing (whether in an employment agreement or somewhere else) and it can’t reduce the number of paid public holidays that would otherwise be available to you in any given year.
You and your employer can agree that in your case, a particular public holiday will be transferred to a different date. However, this must not reduce the total number of paid public holidays that you’re otherwise entitled to in any year.
The following conditions must be met for the transfer to be valid:
- the transfer must be in writing (whether in an employment agreement or somewhere else), and
- the public holiday and the date to which it’s being transferred must both be identified, and
- the public holiday being transferred must otherwise be a working day for you, and
- the day to which the holiday is being transferred must otherwise be a working day for you and must not be another public holiday.
The purpose of the transfer can’t be to stop you being entitled to time and a half payment for working on public holidays. However, the law says it’s allowable for the transfer to have that effect, so long as this wasn’t the reason for it.
Transferring a public holiday example
An employee works night shifts on weekdays from 10pm to 6am. ANZAC day falls on a weekday this year, so if the employee had to take their public holiday in the usual 24 hours, they’d have to work from 10 pm to 12am the day before ANZAC day, and then again at 12am to 6am the day after ANZAC day.
Instead, the employer and employee can agree to “transfer” the ANZAC day public holiday to one 24-hour period to align with the shifts. For example, they could agree that the public holiday will begin at 10pm and end 24 hours later at 10pm. This means that one entire shift (10pm-6am) could be taken as a public holiday, and the following night shift could be treated as a normal working day.
How do I figure out if I would ordinarily work on a particular day?
If you work unpredictable hours, it might not be clear if you would normally work on a certain day (“ordinary working day”). If this is the case, you and your employer should come to an agreement about it in good faith, taking into account factors like:
- what it says in your employment agreement, and
- your previous work patterns, and
- your employer’s rosters, and
- whether you only work when there is work available.
These aren’t the only factors that might be relevant – you can take into account any information you think might be relevant for deciding what your ordinary working days might be.
Often, it is helpful to check whether you worked on the day in question regularly during the last 4-8 weeks. For example, if the public holiday falls on a Monday, and you have worked six or seven out of the last eight Mondays, there is a good argument that you usually work on Mondays.