Employees are entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday if it would otherwise
be a working day. These public holidays are separate from and additional to annual holidays.
The public holidays
There are two groups of holidays, with slightly differing entitlements applying to each:
- Christmas and New Year: Christmas Day (25 December), Boxing Day (26 December), New Year’s Day and the day after (1 and 2 January).
- All other holidays: Waitangi Day (6 February)[*], Good Friday and Easter, Monday (dates variable), ANZAC Day (25 April)[*], Queen’s Birthday (first Monday in June), Labour Day (fourth Monday in October) and Provincial Anniversary Day (date determined locally).
The public holidays over the Christmas and New Year period have special arrangements:
- If the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday and that day would not otherwise be a working day for the employee, the holiday is transferred to the following Monday or Tuesday so that the employee still gets a paid day off if the employee would usually work on these days.
- If the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday and that day would otherwise be a working day for the employee, the holiday remains at the traditional day and the employee is entitled to that day off on pay.
- An employee cannot be entitled to more than four public holidays over the Christmas and New Year period, regardless of their work pattern.
More information on whether a day would ‘otherwise be a working day’ can be found in the section ‘Taking a public holiday’.
All other public holidays are celebrated on the day on which they fall. In years where Waitangi Day (6 February) or ANZAC Day (25 April)[*] fall at the weekend, employees who do not normally work on the weekend have no entitlement to payment for the day.
Following the Holidays Amendment Act 2010 an employer and employee can now agree to transfer a public holiday from the day listed in the Holidays Act 2003 to another day. See further details below under ‘Transferring a public holiday’.