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What are the rules around managing employees pay on a Public Holiday ( Happy Easter, NZ)

Attention all business owners! With Easter and ANZAC Day around the corner, it’s time to brush up on your knowledge about public holiday obligations. Don’t let your employees down – they have minimum rights that apply to public holidays. Lucky for you, we’ve broken it down into four key sections to ensure you’re on the right track.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, we have summarised the key areas you need to consider when dealing with this and we have provided links for more detailed information.

Public Holidays:

Employees get a paid day off on a public holiday if it’s an otherwise working day for them. If they work on a public holiday they’re paid time and a half and may get an alternative day off (which we’ll cover later).

Read More: Employees have minimum rights that apply to public and annual holidays.

Alternative Holidays:

If an employee has had to work on a public holiday, an alternative holiday gives them a day off at another time. Some people call alternative holidays ‘lieu days’ or ‘days off in lieu’ but let’s just stick to ‘alternative holiday’ to avoid any confusion.

An employee gets an alternative holiday if:

  • They work on a public holiday that would otherwise be a working day for them
  • They are on call on a public holiday that is an otherwise working day for them and they have to limit their activities on the day to the extent that they haven’t enjoyed a full holiday.

Important: The employee has the whole working day off work on the day they take an alternative holiday, regardless of how many hours they worked on the public holiday which gave them their entitlement to the alternative day.

Read More: An employee gets an alternative holiday for working on a public holiday that is an otherwise working day.

Public Holidays for Employees working shifts or on call:

If your employee is working shifts or on call, calculating their public holiday entitlements can be tricky.

Employees who work shifts and:

  • Take a public holiday as a day off work, get no less than their relevant daily pay (or average daily pay if applicable) for their normal rostered shift
  • Works on the public holiday they get:
    • The greater of time and a half or relevant daily pay including penal rates in their employment agreement, for the actual hours worked on the public holiday
    • Only if they would have otherwise worked on the day, an alternative holiday for each public holiday or part of a public holiday the shift covers.

Read More:    Public holidays for employees working shifts or on call.

Should Employees Be Paid For Public Holidays After The End Of Their Employment?

Employees are sometimes entitled to be paid for public holidays that fall after their employment has ended if they have unused annual holidays they are entitled to at the time their employment ends. This rule doesn’t apply to employees who haven’t completed 12 months of service because they aren't entitled to annual holidays yet.

Bonus Tip:

Don’t forget that it is a legal requirement to keep time records for the hours worked on a public holiday as well as being able to work out what a normal working day looks like for staff who do not work the Public Holiday. We’ve got your back – we can help you with this.

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