Christmas and New Year Public Holiday Entitlements 2021/22

11 November 2021

It is hard to believe that Christmas and New Year period is fast approaching, as of today there are just 44 days until Christmas rocks around. This year the Christmas and New Year public holidays fall on Saturday 25 December, Sunday 26 December, Saturday 1 January and Sunday 2 January meaning that Mondayisation and even Tuesdayisation are going to be in play.

Below is a brief overview of the entitlements for these holidays, if you require further information please contact Clubs New Zealand on 0800 4 CLUBS or visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website at www.employment.govt.nz

Under the Holidays Act 2003 Employees are entitled to a maximum of four public holidays over the Christmas and New Year period.  When working out public holiday entitlements over Christmas and New Year's it is important to remember that an employee is only entitled to observe the public holiday once.  An employee cannot be entitled to more than four public holidays over the Christmas and New Year period, regardless of their work pattern.

Clubs New Zealand has produced two simple flowcharts to assist you in determining an employees public holiday entitlements for Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day and the Day after New Years Day 2021/2022

Christmas and New Years Day 2021/2022 Flow Chart

Boxing Day and Day After New Years Day 2021/2022 Flow Chart

As always determining public holiday entitlements all begins with whether the day the public holiday falls is otherwise a working day.

Christmas Day and New Years Day (fall on a Saturday and are subject to Mondayisation) 

An employee who normally works on the day the Public Holiday falls:

If the employee normally works on the day that the Public Holiday falls and they are not required* to work (are given the public holiday off) they have the day off with normal pay (relevant daily pay) - there are no further entitlements on the Monday.

If the employee normally works on the day the Public Holiday and is required* to work, they are entitled to time and a half for the hours worked plus an alternative holiday - there are no further entitlements on the Monday.

An employee who does not normally work on the day the Public Holiday falls (the public holiday is Mondayised):

If the employee does not normally work on the day that the Public Holiday falls than the public holiday is Mondayised.

If Monday is otherwise a working day for the employee:

If the employee usually works on a Monday and is not required* to work on the Monday (are given the public holiday off) they have the day off with normal pay (relevant daily pay). 

If the employee is required to work on the Monday they are entitled to be paid time and a half for the hours worked plus an alternative holiday as this is when they are observing the public holiday.

If Monday is not otherwise a working day for the employee:

If the employee does not normally work on a Monday and is not required to work on the Monday they have the day off as usual.

If the employee does not normally work on a Monday and is required to work* on the Monday they would be entitled to be paid time and a half for the hours worked, they are not entitled to an alternative holiday.

Boxing Day and the Day After New Years Day (fall on a Sunday and are subject to Tuesdayisation)

An employee who normally works on the day the Public Holiday falls:

If the employee normally works on the day that the Public Holiday falls and they are not required* to work (are given the public holiday off) they have the day off with normal pay (relevant daily pay) - there are no further entitlements on the Tuesday.

If the employee normally works on the day the Public Holiday and is required* to work, they are entitled to time and a half for the hours worked plus an alternative holiday - there are no further entitlements on the Tuesday.

An employee who does not normally work on the day the Public Holiday falls (the public holiday is Tuesdayised):

If the employee does not normally work on the day that the Public Holiday falls than the public holiday is Tuesdayised.

If Tuesday is otherwise a working day for the employee:

If the employee usually works on a Tuesday and is not required* to work on the Tuesday (are given the public holiday off) they have the day off with normal pay (relevant daily pay). 

If the employee is required to work on the Tuesday they are entitled to be paid time and a half for the hours worked plus an alternative holiday as this is when they are observing the public holiday.

If Tuesday is not otherwise a working day for the employee:

If the employee does not normally work on a Tuesday and is not required to work on the Tuesday they have the day off as usual.

If the employee does not normally work on a Tuesday and is required to work* on the Tuesday they would be entitled to be paid time and a half for the hours worked, they are not entitled to an alternative holiday.

Other Important Things to Note

Closedowns

If you are intending to closedown you are required to give a minimum of 14 days' notice to staff if you intend to have one.

You can only have one closedown period per year per employee. This can be at different times for different departments or areas.

Staff either take annual leave, unpaid leave or annual leave in advance if you both agree.

There are 4 public Holidays over the xmas period; Christmas Day (25th Dec), Boxing Day (26th Dec), New Years Day (1st Jan) and January 2nd.

If any of these days are in your closedown period you must pay staff for them as if they were working, provided it would have otherwise been a normal working day.

Alternative Holidays

The entitlement to an alternative holiday is irrespective of the time worked on the public holiday.  For example, where an employee works from 5pm on December 31st to 3am on New Year’s Day (and the day that New Year’s Day falls is otherwise a working day for that employee), that employee is entitled to a whole alternative holiday paid at the employee's relevant daily pay for the day the alternative holiday is taken.

The employee's alternative holiday entitlement can be used at any time on the agreement of the employee and the employer so long as the day it is taken is considered an otherwise working day for the employee. 

Can you insist an employee works on a public holiday?

This question can cause a lot of grief for both employers and employee's particularly when employees are planning on nursing sizeable hangovers on New Year's Day. The short answer is if the public holiday falls on a normal working day for the employee and the employee's employment agreement includes a clause allowing the employer to require the employee to work a public holiday, then yes you can, the wording the employment agreement is key.

The bottom line is that where the public holiday is otherwise a working day for the employee, the employee should not be disadvantaged.

What if an employee falls sick or is bereaved on a public holiday?

Where the employee would have been working on a public holiday but is sick or bereaved, the day would be treated as a paid unworked public holiday. Therefore:

  • the employee would be paid their relevant daily pay or average daily pay, but would not be entitled to time and a half or an alternative holiday
  • no sick or bereavement leave would be deducted.

Further Information on Public Holidays

If you require further information please contact Clubs New Zealand on 0800 4 CLUBS or visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website at www.employment.govt.nz 

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