2024 New Zealand Public Holidays

Need to know how to pay your employees for public holidays in 2024? You’re in the right place!

New Year’s DayMonday 1 January
Day after New Year’s DayTuesday 2 January
Waitangi DayTuesday 6 February 
Good FridayFriday 29 March (Restricted trading day for most)
Easter MondayMonday 1 April
ANZAC DayThursday 25 April (Restricted trading for most until 1pm)
King’s BirthdayMonday 3 June
MatarikiFriday 28 June
Labour DayMonday 28 October
Christmas DayWednesday 25 December (Restricted trading day for most)
Boxing DayThursday 26 December
Auckland (including Northland and Waikato)Monday 29 January
CanterburyFriday 15 November
Canterbury (South)Monday 23 September
Chatham IslandsMonday 2 December
Hawke’s BayFriday 25 October
MarlboroughMonday 4 November
NelsonMonday 29 January
OtagoMonday 25 March
SouthlandTuesday 2 April
TaranakiMonday 11 March
WellingtonMonday 22 January
WestlandMonday 2 December

How do I work out how to pay my staff for public holidays?

To work out an employee’s statutory and public holidays entitlements, you need to know whether the day is an ‘otherwise working day’ for the employee. Basically, is it a day that they would normally have worked, if it were not a public holiday?

If the public holiday falls on an ‘otherwise working day’ for your employee, you are required either to:

  1. give them a paid day off; or
  2. pay time and a half and give them an alternative day off.

If the public holiday is not an otherwise working day but the employee works, you need to pay them time and a half, but you are not required to provide a day in lieu of the public holiday.

In many cases it’s easy to work out whether or not an employee would otherwise have worked on the day in question because the working pattern or roster is constant and the two of you can easily agree about whether the employee would otherwise have worked that day or not. However, if it’s unclear, then you must try to reach agreement with your employee. In doing so, you both need to consider all of the following factors:

  • what the employment agreement says
  • the employee’s usual work patterns
  • any other relevant factors such as:
    • if the employee works for the employer only when work is available
    • the employer’s rosters or other similar systems
    • the reasonable expectations of the employer and employee as to whether the employee would have worked on that day
    • if the employee would normally have worked if it wasn’t a holiday (public or alternative) or if the employee was not on leave (sick or bereavement).

You can’t take an employee off the roster on a public holiday when it’s a day that he or she would otherwise have worked on, in order to avoid remunerating the employee public holiday pay. Not recognising an employee’s holiday entitlements is against the law.

Do I need to pay time and a half and give my employees a day in lieu if they work Easter Sunday?

Generally, no. Because Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, there is no legal obligation to pay time and a half and/or offer a day in lieu. But, some employers do this anyway, as an act of good faith. It’s also a good idea to check your individual employment contracts for any entitlements that may be over and above minimum entitlements.

If your store is not open on Easter Sunday, you do not need to pay your employees, unless their employment agreement says you must. Generally, employees can take the day as annual leave if it is a normal working day for them, but some employers may choose to provide a paid day off.

How do Mondayised public holidays work in NZ?

Sometimes public holidays in New Zealand are Mondayised or Tuesdayised. This means when the calendar date of the public holiday falls on a weekend day, the holiday is transferred to the nearest Monday (or in some cases, Tuesday).

The only Mondayised Public Holidays for 2024 are:

Chatham Islands Anniversary day Saturday 30 November or Monday 2 December
Westland Anniversary day Sunday 1 December or Monday 2 December

It can be difficult to identify which date your employee should receive their public holiday entitlement. To work this out, you look at whether the Saturday or Sunday is a normal working day for them. If it is, they receive their entitlement on the Saturday or the Sunday. But if Monday is also a normal working day for them, they do not receive any further public holiday entitlement for this day – its one or the other, never both.

If your employee does not work a Saturday, but Monday is a normal working day for them, they receive their public holiday entitlement on the Monday.

Essentially, an employee cannot receive public holiday entitlements for both the calendar date and the observed date.

If you’re still not sure you can contact us at [email protected] or give us a call on 0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia).

Retail NZ members can call our Advice Service and clarify any doubts on whether or not the public holiday is an ‘otherwise working day’ for their employee and what they need to do in the situation when it is not clear if it is. There is a lot of confusion when it comes to public holiday payroll and our members can get access to advice and resources – free of cost. Not a Retail NZ member yet? Click here to learn more about joining our supportive Retail NZ community.

Updated January 2024.

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