A short guide to Public Holidays -by Jason Ennor, at MyHR

We thought leading into the Christmas period we would like to share a great read by local Rosebank Business Jason Ennor from MyHR  who provides an overview of some common questions they receive.

Employees are entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday if it would otherwise be a working day. These public holidays are separate from and additional to annual holidays.

If the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday and that day would otherwise be a working day for the employee, the holiday remains at the traditional day and the employee is entitled to that day off on pay. An employer and employee can also agree to transfer a public holiday from the day listed in the Holidays Act 2003 to another day.

Fixed work schedules

Firstly, public holidays are very simple for any worker with a fixed working schedule (whether part-time or full-time).

Ask yourself: is the day of the public holiday an otherwise working day? This test is easy to apply for any employee with a fixed work pattern.

For example: a regular Monday to Friday, 40 hour per-week employee will most likely receive all 11 public holidays every year. The only times they might miss-out is if they are off work on agreed unpaid leave for some reason.

Another example: if a person has a fixed part-time pattern of working every Tuesday to Thursday, they will not receive any public holiday payments for public holidays that fall on a Monday or Friday.


Having establish whether the day is an otherwise working day, you then have to look at what to pay.

When the day is an otherwise working day, employees receive payment for the day off if they don’t work, or payment of time-and-a-half, plus an alternative holiday (day in lieu) if they do work. When the day is not an otherwise working day, they receive no payment for the day off or payment of time-and-a-half but no alternative holiday if they do work.

Stand-down or qualifying periods

We sometimes get asked if there is a stand-down period or qualifying period before an employee receives a public holiday entitlement and the answer is no, there is no qualifying period.

Employees are entitled to public holidays from their first day of work.

For example; if a Monday – Friday worker starts with you on Monday 24th April, they will get a paid day off on Tuesday 25th for ANZAC Day. If they work, they will receive time and a half, plus an alternative holiday (day in lieu).

Working on a public Holiday

An employee is entitled to a full alternative day off if they work on a public holiday — no matter how many hours they worked that day.

But they don’t get an alternative day off — also called a day in lieu — if:

  • they only ever work public holidays
  • they wouldn’t normally have worked that day
  • they were on call but didn’t work, and being on call didn’t stop them doing what they wanted to with their day.

Read more of the article here

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