Leave Policy in New Zealand

Leave Policy in New Zealand
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Like most world governments, the New Zealand government recognizes the need to grant employees rest days. Besides resting these days, employees have time to focus on personal or family matters.

There are various categories of leave entitlements. In some cases, employees get their full salaries while off duty. Meanwhile, with other types of leave, the employee gets half or no pay. This also depends on the duration of the leave and how long the employee has been working for the company.

Here's all you need to know about the leave policy in New Zealand.

New Zealand Employment Law and Leave Entitlements

The leave entitlements set up by the New Zealand government are the minimum employers can grant their staff. Depending on the nature of their employment contract, the leave entitlement may surpass the federal leave policy.

When employees take leaves, the entitlements and payment for the leave's duration come from the employer's pocket. However, employers must be transparent with the employment code and what it says about leave entitlements. Employers should educate workers on their rights and leave entitlements when offering an employment contract to a new candidate.

Employees can also get adequate information about their entitlements from their respective unions. Perhaps the most effective way of getting reliable information is to contact the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. Keeping up with all the latest information can be challenging without the help of Skuad's local expertise. Partnering with Skuad helps you stay on top of things, enabling you fully comply with local legislation no matter how frequently they change.

All employees are entitled to leave, including full-time, part-time, and casual workers.

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Public Holidays

Public holidays in New Zealand may vary slightly across different regions. Employees get about 12 days of public holidays in a calendar year. An employee is at liberty to skip official duties on such days while receiving their full salary.

Sometimes, a public holiday is observed on the next working day if it falls on a weekend. If employees work on holidays, they get 150% of their salary.

Here are the public holiday dates for 2023.

Date Holiday Name
January 1 New Year's Day
February 6 Waitangi Day
April 7 Good Friday
April 10 Easter Monday
April 25 Anzac Day
June 5 Birthday of the King
July 15 Matariki
October 23 Labor Day
December 25 Christmas Day
December 26 Boxing Day

Annual Holidays

Employees are entitled to annual leave in New Zealand if they have worked for the company for at least 12 consecutive months. However, the employer may allow workers to take some of their annual leave before becoming eligible. Employees can also receive this payment before the holiday starts.

The company compensates if an employee's contract expires before their annual leave period. It is 8% of their earnings before tax. Employees are entitled to up to four weeks of annual leave in this country.

Sometimes, an employee's working pattern or hours might be irregular and tricky for the employer to determine. If this happens, the employee receives a pay-as-you-go holiday payment.

Parental Leave

Employees get certain days off to focus on family matters related to the birth or adoption of their child. Getting parental leave in New Zealand can be a tricky endeavor. Although employees have the right to this leave, they must be eligible.

To be eligible for parental leave in New Zealand, you must prove the following:

  • You're a taxpayer in New Zealand.
  • Your company operates in New Zealand.
  • The employment contract follows the New Zealand employment law.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Development also provides a tool to enable you to determine your eligibility for paternity leave.

Providing parental leave entitlements is crucial in attracting talent to your company. Skuad can help you design competitive parental leave packages to suit your employees’ local needs in New Zealand.

Parental leave in this country comes in different forms. Here are the major types:

Primary Carer and Surrogacy Leave

This parental leave pertains to female workers close to or during confinement. It also applies to the spouse or partner who would be their primary carer and receive their benefits. This leave policy in New Zealand also covers employees primarily responsible for raising a child below six years old.

The primary carer leave in New Zealand is a 26-week long period. It begins when the employee gives birth or is on their stipulated delivery date. In the case of an adoption, it begins the day the employee legally commences parental duties over the child.

The government understands that some companies have parental leave policies. However, a company's internal leave policy may precede the labor code if the terms are more favorable to the employee.

Special Maternity Leave

Female employees can take up to 10 days' leave without pay for pregnancy-related reasons. It may include prenatal check-ups or midwife appointments.

Partner's Leave

Employees, usually, males, can take a partner's leave in New Zealand if their spouse or partner is having a baby. This is unpaid leave that can last up to two weeks. Employees are ineligible if they are already on any other form of parental leave.

Sick Leave

Sick leave in New Zealand is one of the most inclusive in the world. An employee gets time off work to take care of the health complications of their child, spouse, parents, or themselves. It is a 10-day paid leave, and employees may need a medical report to qualify. Other eligibility criteria include working for the company for at least six consecutive months.

Employees must inform their superiors of their medical complications to get sick leave. In case of a work-related injury in New Zealand or illness, calling or sending a message to the company through the family is necessary to facilitate the leave process.

An employee is only entitled to payment when on sick leave on working days. To illustrate, if there are two bank holidays during the sick leave period, the employee doesn't get paid for those days.

Bereavement Leave

Employers must give their workers days off to mourn the loss of a close relative. Workers may take bereavement leave in New Zealand in separate periods or at once. Sometimes, employers give their staff additional days to attend a funeral.

This leave policy in New Zealand pertains to individuals working for the company for not less than six months. Bereavement leave is usually three days. The employee can get one more day of bereavement after exhausting their yearly leave if any other loss occurs.  

Bereavement leave also includes miscarriage leave in New Zealand. Employees and their partners get three days of paid leave after suffering a miscarriage.

Family Violence Leave

Employees may get leave when they are victims of domestic violence. Family violence comes in various forms, from physical to sexual abuse. Employees get 10 days off with full pay for family violence leave. They can also request flexible working arrangements for up to two months while dealing with the issue.

Armed Forces Leave

The law mandates employers to grant their staff volunteer defense force leave in New Zealand for armed forces commitments. An employee may develop an interest in partaking in activities in the armed forces.

It could be training or offering voluntary service to the military. If they do and request leave, the employer must permit them. Although the employer may not continue paying the employee or volunteer after a while, they must keep their positions in the company. Thus, the employer cannot dismiss them during this period.

The employer has the right to postpone the leave. A valid reason would be if the employee's immediate absence would adversely affect the company. Upon receiving the armed forces leave request, the employer has up to 21 days to respond.

Special Leave

Stress Leave

Stress is a major cause of burnout and can lead to physical and mental health issues. To look after the workforce in the country, the government enables employees to take leave for suffering work-related stress. Although the law doesn't define workplace stress, these factors may contribute to this distress:

  • Workplace bullying
  • Discrimination
  • Unreasonable workload
  • Nearly impossible deadlines
  • Hazardous work environment

The employee can take sick leave if work-related stress results in an illness. If the sickness persists after three days, the employer has the right to request a medical certificate to grant sick leave. Regarding pay, the amount is open to negotiation between employer and employee. Paying employees in foreign countries can be easy when you partner with a global employment service like Skuad. Skuad offers multiple payment options for your international team in New Zealand dollars.

General Voting Leave

Companies must give their staff the day off to perform their civic duties during the parliamentary elections. The voting leave policy in New Zealand applies to employees who are an elector in the election district. General election leave is usually short, perhaps a few hours in one day. How much time an individual gets depends on whether they would perform essential services.

Anyone who doesn't need to perform essential work past 3 PM may be given time off work before 3 PM. Meanwhile, those on essential duty until after 3 PM may be given reasonable time off before 3 PM.

Long Service Leave

The law does not demand employers grant this leave to their workers. Thus, workers wanting long service leave may have to consult their employers. Long service only becomes mandatory if it exists in the employment contract.

Jury Service Leave

The Ministry of Justice administers jury service, which calls individuals for jury duty. When an individual gets a call for jury duty, their employer must grant them leave to attend. The employee must retain their position while away on duty.

The government takes it personally when an employer threatens an employee with dismissal on jury service leave in New Zealand. They could get a fine of up to $10,000. Although not mandatory, some employers may pay their staff for their leave day.

Easily Manage Leave Policy in New Zealand with Skuad

Partnering with Skuad is perhaps your best chance of complying with local employment laws in New Zealand. Skuad bears the risk of employing your international team in New Zealand and ensures you achieve full compliance. Our unified platform enables you to hire, onboard, manage and pay global talent seamlessly. 

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