There are 11 Public Holidays, also known as “statutory or stat. holidays”.  On these days employees can have the day off work and still be paid. 

If, however, an employee does work on a Public Holiday, they get paid “time and a half”, plus receive another day off at a different time, called a “day in lieu”.

Employees can only be made to work on Public Holidays if it is a day they would usually work and their Employment Agreement says they have to.  Employees may also agree to do work, even if they do not have to under their Employment Agreement.

What happens if a Public Holiday falls on a weekend?

If a stat. holiday falls on a weekend day, and the employee doesn’t normally work on weekends, the employee may take the following Monday as the stat day.

If the employee normally works on the weekend then the stat. day remains on the relevant weekend day.

If an employee does not have a regular work pattern, it could be hard to determine which day the employee needs to take the stat. day.  You can use the “Otherwise Working Day Calculator” to assist you.  It is available from the Ministry of Business Innovations and Employment website.

If the employee usually works on both the weekend day and the following Monday, the stat. day’s date will be unchanged, the employee will get paid time and a half, and receive another day off work.

The day off… “day in lieu”…

The alternative day off is also known as a “day in lieu”.  The employee can take the day in lieu on a day agreed with the employer that is usually a working day for them.  The day must not be a stat. day.  The employee will get a whole working day off, even if they did not work a whole working day on the stat. day.

If the employer and employee cannot agree on which day the day in lieu should be taken, the employer can give the employee at least 14 days’ notice of the date they want the employee to take the day in lieu.  The employee will receive their normal daily pay for the day in lieu.

If the employee does not take a day in lieu within 12 months of becoming entitled to it, then the employer and employee may agree for the employee to be paid out for that day instead.  If the employee’s employment ends before the employee took the day in lieu, they will be paid out for their day in lieu.

If the stat. day falls within a period where the employee is already on annual leave the employee gets paid their usual daily pay, but the employee does not have that day counted as annual leave.  If the employee is on parental leave, the employer would not have to pay for the stat. day because the employee would not normally work on that day.

If an employee is sick or bereaved on a stat. day and they would normally work on that day, then the employee would receive their normal daily rate for the stat. day but the day would not be deducted from their entitlement to sick/bereavement days.  For instance, if an employee has 5 sick days available, and then falls ill on a stat. day, the employee would get paid their usual rate for that day.  The employee would also still have 5 sick days remaining.

Restricted shop trading days…

There are 3½ days each year when almost all shops must be closed (some exemptions apply).  The days are Christmas Day, Good Friday, Anzac Day until 1:00pm, and Easter Sunday.

From August 2016 local authorities may put in place policies which will allow shops within their area to trade on Easter Sunday.  Employees and employers will need to check their local region’s policies with the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

The important thing to note is that all employees have the right to refuse working on Easter Sunday without giving a reason.

If an employee agrees to work on Easter Sunday, the employee will receive their usual pay for that day, and will not receive a day in lieu because Easter Sunday is not a stat. day

If an employee usually works on a Sunday, but does not work on Easter Sunday because their workplace is closed due to trading restrictions, then what they get paid for that day depends on the terms and conditions of their Employment Agreement. 

Usually, if an employee is able to work on a day that is a contracted day for them to work, the employer has to provide them with work for that day. 

If the employer does not provide the employee with work, they may have to pay the employee what they would have paid them if they did work, unless the Employment Agreement specifically says otherwise.