Annual Holidays

The Holidays Act 2003 applies to all lay employees employed with individual employment agreements. The Holidays Act excludes payment of holiday pay to self-employed contractors, honorarium and pulpit supply.
All employees become entitled to four weeks annual leave after 12 months of continuous employment.
Good leave records are a necessity and both the employer and the employee need to be aware of the details of leave entitlements and leave taken. More information can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) website:

The Holidays Act specifies the minimum leave requirements that must be provided and there are penalties for non-compliance with the provisions of the Holidays Act.

An employer cannot offer less than the provisions in the Act, however they can offer more. The annual leave provision should be included in the employee’s agreement.

Annual Holidays

•    Minimum entitlement is four weeks per annum.
•    Annual leave can be accrued from one year to the next.
•    Employers can require leave to be taken, but they must give the employee 14 days written notice.
•    There is an obligation not to unreasonably withhold consent for leave to be taken.

Annual Leave and Sickness

When an employee falls sick on annual leave, the leave may be taken as sick leave. The employer is entitled to ask for a medical certificate as proof of sickness before this leave is changed from annual to sick leave.

Sick Leave

The minimum sick leave entitlement is five days per annum, which can accrue up to a maximum of five days. Employers may ask for a medical certificate at the employee’s expense for sick leave taken in excess of three days.

Sick leave may be taken for the employee. Employees can also claim sick leave when their children or other dependants require their care.

Employers cannot offer an employee less than the provisions in the Act, however they can offer more. The sick leave provision should be included in the employee’s agreement.

Bereavement Leave

Entitlement: After 6 months service, 3 days for the death of an employee's

  • spouse
  • parent or parent-in-law
  • child
  • sibling
  • grandparent
  • grandchild.

1 day on any other occasion where the employer accepts that the employee has suffered a bereavement. The employer should take into account.

  • closeness of the association
  • responsibility for ceremonies
  • cultural responsibilities

Public Holidays

  • As for 1981 Act.
  • They are paid holidays if they fall on days which for the employee would otherwise be working days.
  • If not clear, parties must consider - Employement agreement - Employee's work patterns - Other relevant factors.
  • The employee must be paid time and a half and be given an alternative day off on pay at some other time.