Managing public holidays

26 Nov 2018


When it comes to public holidays it can be confusing for employers to work out what their employees are entitled to adding undue stress to payroll.

Employers across New Zealand are required to recognise the 11 public holidays (also known as stat or statutory holidays) provided for in the Holidays Act 2003. Paying employees for those 11 days can cause confusion for employers and employees alike.

Perhaps the most important message for owners of any business is that regardless of the type of employment, whether it is full-time, part time, or casual, your employees are entitled to the full benefits that come with public holidays.

Public Holidays in New Zealand

The 11 public holidays refer to 10 fixed dates which are common right across the country plus one additional day being the regional anniversary day of the province in which the employee is based. The 10 fixed dates include:

  • 1 January (New Year’s Day)
  • 2 January (Day after New Year’s Day)
  • 6 February (Waitangi Day)
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • 25 April (ANZAC Day)
  • Queen’s Birthday
  • Labour Day
  • 25 December (Christmas Day)
  • 26 December (Boxing Day)

For some employers the regional anniversary day can add another layer of confusion when paying employees. If you have employees spread throughout different locations in New Zealand, you need to ensure they receive the correct public holiday entitlements relevant to their regional anniversary day. Fortunately this is easy on iPayroll and each employee is automatically adjusted for public holidays and can have their regional holiday specified on their Personal Details page.

Working on Public Holidays

If a public holiday falls on a day an employee would typically work then they are entitled to a paid day off. However, if it was stipulated in their signed employment agreement that they have to work on public holidays then an employee can be made to work if the public holiday is observed on a day the employee would typically work. If the employee is made to work there is a public holiday rate of pay which is time and a half and the employee will also get an alternative paid day off (also known as a day in lieu or alternative holiday). If an employee works on a public holiday which was not a usual day they would work, the employee is entitled to time and a half but not a day in lieu.

If a public holiday is attached to a calendar date then the day it is celebrated on often changes each year. Mondayisation occurs when a public holiday which falls on a weekend is moved to the following Monday (or in some cases Tuesday). Mondayisation only happens if the employee doesn’t normally work the calendar date of the holiday, for example if an employee normally works on the day of the public holiday’s calendar date then there is no Mondayisation for them and their public holiday benefits apply to the calendar date. However if an employee would normally work on both the calendar date and the Mondayisation date, their public holiday is the calendar date. They don’t get two public holidays.

How can iPayroll help manage public holiday pay?

An online payroll system can remove the manual calculations involved in working out employees pay entitlements for public holidays, reducing the chance of errors that can occur with manual calculation.

iPayroll automatically recognises New Zealand public holidays and regional anniversary days. Employees are able to enter their hours worked into their timesheets using Timelogs via their Employee Kiosk using the public holiday worked (PHW) code.

If you have employees based in different locations around New Zealand you can identify the anniversary day relevant to each employee on their personal details screen or alternatively if all your employees are in one location you can set up the anniversary day as a default for all.

If you have any questions regarding public holidays you may find this section from the MBIE website helpful.

Get in touch with iPayroll today to find out how we can take the stress out of managing public holiday pay, you can reach us at or give us a call (contact numbers below).




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