One-off Public Holiday – for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

One-off Public Holiday – for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

With Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II  passing, the NZ Government have declared a one-off Public Holiday for employees. On Monday 26 September 2022 we will observe this Public Holiday. 

It’s a good time to re-cap on who is entitled to what on a Public Holiday. 

Is it an otherwise working day?

Where the public holiday is an otherwise working day and the employee does not work, they are entitled to be paid relevant daily pay. 

Where staff work, they are entitled to at least time and 1 half and an alternative holiday. 

What if the day isn’t an otherwise working day?

For an employee who works on a public holiday and the day is not their otherwise working day are still entitled to time and a half for the hours they work. They do not get an alternative days holiday.

If the employee does not work and the day is not their otherwise working day they do not have an entitlement to be paid. 

Can I make staff work on a public holiday?

The short answer is possibly. The long answer is check your employment agreements first. Employers should have a provision in their employment agreement about staff working on a public holiday. 

Transferring a public holiday

Parties can agree to observe the Public Holiday on a different date. This must be agreed in writing. There is more information here. 

Maximum days

An employee gets a maximum of 12 public holidays per year (this one-off public holiday to the side). There may be times where an employee thinks they get more.  For example, if they split their time between regions and want to observe both Wellington and Auckland anniversary. The legislation doesn’t allow this. Parties should agree early which day would be observed. 

What happens if there is a Public Holiday and the employee is on a period of annual leave?

If an employee is on annual leave when there’s a public holiday, they get a paid public holiday if they would have normally worked on that day, and do not lose an annual leave day.

There is more here about the sick, bereavement, and family violence leave interface with public holidays. 

There are additional considerations for employers. Some of those include accounting for how a day is observed for split shift workers, situations where some public holidays transfer from a weekend to the Monday or Tuesday, availability provisions, timing of alternative holidays, payments and calculations. 

This blog is intended as a short summary – for specific advice please ask.