Laws Governing Annual Holidays in New Zealand

A view of a city in New Zealand on a sunny day

Just like in most countries around the world, taking holidays in New Zealand is an employee’s right. It gives workers a chance to take their minds off work and enjoy a few weeks of personal time. This post will discuss the legalities surrounding this right afforded to employees. Below are the most common issues employees or new hires raise when thinking about annual holidays.

“My Employment Agreement Has No Holiday Clause”

In 2003, the government passed the Holidays Act.  Christchurch-based law firms such as explain that this bill must become a part of employment agreements which do not inherently discuss the terms of going on holidays.

In most cases, agreements contain modified forms of the Act which conforms to the unique requirements of the job.  These deviations can come in the form of additional holidays or a higher wage computation for the period.

Employees on a Varying Work Schedule

Employees whose work hours vary weekly have the most complicated  holiday pay to compute. The general rule is that the weeks worked must be equal to the average employee’s weekly hours. This formula can be used to calculate on when a regular employee with a changing schedule can become entitled to the annual holiday leave.

Can Employers Stop You from Taking a Leave?

The short answer to this is no. If the employee has worked for twelve months, he or she has earned the right to go on annual leave. Employers may only deny annual leaves accrued if the employees are not yet eligible for it.

Forcing Employees to Go on Holidays

This decision is only necessary when the employer and employee cannot agree on a period for the holiday leave.  Employers may force their employees to go on holiday to comply with the Holidays Act of 2003. A proper notification, however, must be provided 14 days before the start of the holiday.

Employees need periodic rest from their responsibilities. This allows them to take time off, focus on personal matters and gather the energy to take on challenges for employment. For new employees, it also comes off as a reward once they reach the 12-month mark at their job.

For more information on how annual holidays work, it is essential to consult with your employer for proper advice. If you have concerns about the way your company is implementing holiday leaves, however, or if it’s not doing it, you may get the help of a law firm instead.