There are different rules for different types of leave. Understanding your obligations as an employer makes it easier to work out leave entitlements and approve leave applications — leading to happier, more productive employees.
All employees working in New Zealand are legally covered by the Holidays Act (2003). The Act requires that:
For more information on keeping accurate records, visit Employment New Zealand's Keeping accurate records(external link).
All employees are entitled to at least four weeks of paid annual holidays. This doesn’t include public holidays or sick leave.
Annual leave has more information.
With the right systems in place, you shouldn’t have too much trouble working out what to pay your employees when they take leave. It’s important to:
Paying employees for leave has more information.
When a public holiday falls on a day your employee would usually work, they’re entitled to a paid day off, no matter how long they’ve been working for you. If they agree to work anyway, you must:
Public holidays has more about holidays.
Once they've worked for you for six months, employees are entitled to at least five days paid sick leave each year. You must also:
Read more about sick leave.
Once they’ve worked for you for six months, employees are entitled to paid bereavement leave of:
They’re allowed to take their bereavement leave at any time and for any reason that relates to the death.
Read more about bereavement leave.
Once they have worked for you for six months, employees affected by domestic abuse can take up to 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave.
To qualify, at least one of these situations must apply to your employee:
• They have experienced domestic violence.
• They live with a child who has experienced domestic abuse — even if the child only lives with them sometimes.
There is no time limit on when the domestic violence occurred.
Like sick leave, the domestic leave entitlement renews every 12 months. Employees cannot carry over unused days.
You do not have to pay unused days if the employee leaves.
Employees may be entitled to 26 weeks of government-funded parental leave payments. Employees who’ve worked for you for six months (for an average of at least 10 hours a week) are also entitled to take up to 26 weeks of unpaid parental leave.
They can take up to 12 months if they’ve worked for at least 10 hours a week for a year or more. Workers who have worked for you for less than six months may also be entitled to parental leave, in certain situations.
Parental leave has information on who can take it.
Employees can apply for unpaid leave for any reason — but it’s totally up to you whether or not to agree to it.
If you let an employee take unpaid leave of more than a week throughout the year, you’ll need to consider how it will affect their annual leave entitlements and payment calculations.
Unpaid leave has more information.
Working out what you need to pay employees when they’re taking leave can be complicated – but with the right systems and processes in place, it doesn’t have to be difficult.