Holidays & leave

Key information about annual holidays, holiday pay, public holidays and different types of leave you are entitled to.

Annual holidays and holiday pay

Every employee qualifies for annual holidays and holiday pay. This applies no matter what age you are or what kind of job you do and it includes casual and part-time workers.

Every employee is entitled to receive four weeks’ annual holidays (paid time off work) after one year of continuous employment.

While you’re not entitled to time off with pay until you have completed a full year, your employer may let you take some of your annual leave in advance.

If your job ends before you qualify for time off with pay or is for a fixed term of less than one year, your employer must pay you 8% of everything you’ve earned before tax. This amount must be paid to you as holiday pay; either paid to you as at the end of your employment or added to your pay each pay-day.

The way annual holidays/holiday pay is handled should be covered in your employment agreement.

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Bereavement leave

Bereavement leave is a form of paid leave that you can use if someone close to you dies.  You need to have been employed for at least six months in the same job before you are entitled to get bereavement leave.

Public holidays

You’re also entitled to public holidays. If a normal work day is a public holiday, you’re entitled to have that day off but be paid as if you had worked. If you’re required to work on a public holiday, you’re entitled to extra compensation.

For working on a public holiday you should be paid time-and-a-half. And if it’s a day you’d normally work, you’re entitled to another day off on pay as well.

New Zealand has 11 public holidays:

  • Christmas Day – 25 December*
  • Boxing Day – 26 December*
  • New Year’s Day and the day after – 1 and 2 January*
  • Waitangi Day – 6 February
  • Good Friday and Easter Monday – dates change each year (usually March or April)
  • ANZAC Day – 25 April
  • Queen’s Birthday – first Monday in June
  • Labour Day – fourth Monday in October
  • Provincial Anniversary Days – New Zealand is divided into provinces, each of which have public holidays on different dates

* If these particular dates fall on a weekend, the holiday may be shifted to the following Monday or Tuesday.

For more information about public holidays and the actual dates for the next few years, check this detailed list.

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Sick leave

Sick leave is paid time off work if you’re sick or injured. You’re entitled to five days’ sick leave a year if you’ve been continuously employed for more than six months.

If you need sick leave before the six months’ employment is up, you can ask your employer if you can take unpaid leave or use some of your annual holidays in advance.

As well as providing time off for your own sickness or injury, you can use sick leave if your spouse, partner or someone who depends on you for care (like a child or elderly parent) is sick or injured.

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