Holidays and Leave

Holidays & Leave
As of 1 April 2004, the Holidays Act 2003 replaced the previous legislation. This section brings together basic information about the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers in the workplace according to the Holidays Act, including the transitional arrangements from the previous Act to the current Act.

 It includes helpful fact sheets outlining the differences and aiding in the management of the transition. If you need assistance with your holiday and leave entitlements before 1 April 2004, please go to the Holidays Act 1981 section or ring the Employment Relations Infoline on 0800 800 863.

Who needs this Information?

  • Anyone who has a paid job or who employs other people in paid work.

  • Those wanting to find out about or going on holiday or taking leave of some sort.

  • Both employers and employees who want to know what they can and cannot do, as well as the things they have to do, in the workplace.

  • Anyone who wants to know the minimum requirements about holidays & other forms of leave.

  • Anyone who needs to know what minimum employment conditions apply in New Zealand.

The passage of the Holidays Act 2003 continues the modernisation and review of employment relations legislation that began with the Employment Relations Act 2000. These changes were designed to create productive and mutually rewarding workplace relationships.

The minimum rights set out in this section apply by law to all employees - full-time, part-time or casual. These rights apply even if they have not been included in employment agreements. You cannot agree to do away with any of these minimum rights, but you can agree to better ones.

The Holidays Act 2003
The Holidays Act 2003 provides minimum legal entitlements to:

  • Annual holidays.
  • Public holidays.
  • Sick leave.
  • Bereavement leave.

The new Act replaced legislation that was difficult to understand and apply, that no longer reflected practice in many workplaces, and that was widely seen as not meeting the needs of employers and employees.

The new legislation was intended to create:

  • Improved entitlements and more consistent arrangements for public holidays.
  • Separate entitlements for sick leave and bereavement leave.
  • More certainty in holiday and leave calculations.
  • From 2007, improved minimum entitlements for annual holidays (sometimes known as “annual leave”).

Implementation of the Holidays Act
The Holidays Act 2003 has two dates for implementation:

  • The majority of the provisions are in force as of 1 April 2004.
  • The increase from three to four weeks' minimum annual holidays comes into force on 1 April 2007.

The new Act affects every workplace differently. All employers need to review their practices to ensure they meet the new requirements.

This includes:

  • Ensuring that they and their employees understand the public holiday provisions, which will apply from the Easter holidays in April 2004.

  • Ideally checking all employment agreements, and working through any required changes with employees or their unions.

  • Ensuring that records, holiday policies and procedures reflect at least the minimum provisions of the Holidays Act 2003.

  • Preparing to implement four weeks' annual leave from 1 April 2007.