Source: Employment New Zealand
These top five employment tips can help employers and employees prepare for the Christmas period.
1. A business may close down over the holiday period
Businesses can have an ‘annual closedown’ for their whole business or a part of it, but they must give at least 14 days’ notice in writing.
If a business closes down over the holiday period, employees are required to use their existing annual holidays to cover the closedown period. If an employee doesn’t have sufficient leave, they can take leave without pay or the employer and employee can agree to use annual leave in advance.
2. In most circumstances employees don’t have to agree to work on a public holiday
An employer can only make an employee work on a public holiday if:
- the public holiday falls on a day the employee would otherwise have worked; and
- the requirement to work on the public holiday is noted in their employment agreement.
Otherwise, an employee does not have to agree to work during a public holiday.
3. All employees should be paid time and a half for working on a public holiday
If the public holiday falls on the day an employee would normally work, an employee is entitled to be paid time and a half for all the hours worked, plus a paid day off at another time. If the holiday does not fall on a day they normally work, the employee is entitled to just be paid time and a half.
4. Employees can ask to cash-up some of their annual holidays
Employees can request to cash up to one week of their four weeks’ annual holidays in any entitlement year, providing the employer agrees. If an employer declines, they must do this in writing, but they don’t have to give a reason.
5. Cancelling approved annual holidays is a matter of negotiation
An employer cannot cancel an employee’s approved annual leave, unless they agree to it. An employee may have already arranged their holiday, for example, paid for accommodation, or organised a holiday with friends or family. If an employer would like an employee to cancel their leave, they should approach the employee in good faith and make sure that there are no consequences if the employee declines to cancel their leave.