Being a Young Employee

Being a Young Employee

1. Your rights at work - holidays.
On 1 April 2004, new laws governing holidays and other leave came into effect. The new rules are designed to be easier for everyone to understand and follow. So if you work, you're affected by these changes.

The changes to the Holidays Act are summarized below, but because there are so many different kinds of work arrangements and situations, you can call us free on 0800 800 863 if you’re still unsure about how the Holidays Act changes affect you.

2. What are the Holidays Act changes?
The new legislation (a new law that everyone must follow) – the Holidays Act 2003 – sets out the minimum holiday and leave entitlements for all Kiwi workers. It covers:

  • Paid annual holidays.
  • Paid public holidays.
  • Paid sick leave.
  • Paid bereavement leave.

REMEMBER: Although you and your employer can agree to more generous leave arrangements you cannot agree to arrangements that are less generous than the Holidays Act on any part of holidays or leave.

3. Annual Holidays

  1. What’s happening to my annual holidays?
    Under the new legislation, you are legally entitled to at least three weeks' paid annual holiday after 12 months’ continuous service. From 1 April 2007 this will increase to a minimum of four weeks per year.

    You should make sure you and your employer have the same understanding about what "three weeks" means in your situation.

    You can take at least two of the three weeks annual leave at one time.

    REMEMBER: Although you and your employer can agree to you taking paid holidays before you’ve finished the required 12 months, your employer doesn’t have to let you do this. Also, your employer can not make you take holidays in advance.

  2. When should I get paid for my annual holidays?
    You’re entitled to be paid for your annual holidays before the holiday starts, unless you agree that your normal pay arrangements will continue.

  3. How much do I get paid for annual holidays?
    Payment for annual holidays is the greater amount of either:
    • Your "ordinary weekly pay" at the time your holiday is taken; or,
    • Your "average weekly earnings" over the 12 months before your annual holiday is taken.

    In some limited circumstances you and your employer can agree that you receive holiday pay as an additional payment each week, and do not become entitled to annual holidays. In this case, your holiday pay must be at least 6% of your normal pay and it must be shown separately on your pay slip.

If you want further details of the "pay as you go" holiday arrangements and whether your employer can pay you your holidays like this, you can phone the Employment Relations Authority free on 0800 800 863.