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The number of jandals and board shorts being sighted around town is as a true sign that summer is here, and, for Kiwi workers, there are a number of public holidays coming up to enjoy.
Public holidays are a treasured and fiercely guarded minimum right of New Zealand employees and provide a precious opportunity for employees to enjoy a break, remember an important occasion or, perhaps, supplement their income.
Despite the Holidays Act being in force for more than 15 years now, we still see confusion by business operators as to the various entitlements for different types of employees on public holidays, and who should be paid what.
Consider this as your "how to" guide for paying staff for public holidays.
There are a variety of types of employment and these categories determine whether employees get any remuneration, their usual remuneration, time and a half or a day in lieu.
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The most common type of employment is a permanent or fixed-term worker who works the same regular hours and days (e.g. office and factory workers).
If the public holiday falls on a day which the employee would have normally been working, a business needs to decide whether they will require that employee to work or not.
If the business shuts down, the employee should be paid what they would have received if they had been working that day (if this can't be determined, then their average daily pay).
If the business remains open and the employee is required to work, they receive their pay at a rate of one and a half (1.5x) and a day in lieu (as compensation for the public holidays they didn't get to enjoy).
Where a casual employee is working on the public holiday, they should receive time and a half, but not a day in lieu.
However, businesses need to be careful that they employee hasn't regularly been working that day, e.g. every Monday for the last few months they have worked 12–4pm.
In this case, they would be considered permanent and also be entitled to the day in lieu.
If an employee was scheduled to work, but has called in sick or suffered a bereavement, they should just be given their relevant daily pay (what they would have earnt if they had been working that day and it wasn't a public holiday, i.e. not at time and a half).
Night shift workers are slightly more complicated.
They should receive their standard pay for their hours working on the normal day, but time and a half for their hours worked on the public holiday.
For example, if a worker is rostered on from 10pm to 6am on the 24th/25th April (Anzac Day), they will receive two hours of standard pay and six hours at time and a half. They will also receive a day in lieu for working at some point on a public holiday.
It is also important to remember that employees can only be required to work a public holiday if this requirement has been included in their employment agreement.
Businesses may also need to consider whether they need to include an availability clause if they want an employee to be on call for the public holiday, but this falls outside of their agreed and guaranteed hours of work.