holiday work

Holiday Work: Understanding Your Pay Over Christmas

The holidays can be a confusing time to navigate as an employee. Some workplaces close down over Christmas, while others require you to work through. As an employee it is important to know that you are getting compensated correctly for your work. Particularly as this year four public holidays fall over the weekend.

Shopless offers more of an insight into working over the Christmas period. And resources that can help you to better understand public holiday work. 

Christmas and New Years Holidays fall on a Weekend

This year both sets of public holidays fall over the weekend, which can be confusing for an employee working over this period of time. But broken down this can be quite simple. If you work a regular Monday to Friday job, then Monday and Tuesday will be observed as public holidays. This is Monday 27th 2021 & Tuesday 28th 2021 as well as Monday 3rd 2021 and Tuesday 3rd 2021 observed as holidays. 

If you still have to work on the observed public holidays on both days your employer will be required to pay you time and a half for both days that you work. Time and a half can be calculated at your standard hourly rate x1.5 as seen here. Employees are also entitled to a day in lieu, which is an additional day holiday accrued to be used at another time. 

If you do not work on the observed public holiday, observing it as a public holiday, as required, the observation day is treated as a normal public holiday. Therefore you are not entitled to extra compensation, but required to take the day off. If you are still unsure about the Mondayisation falling on your Monday- Friday shift, you can find out more here.

Working on both the Public Holiday and the Observed Day

If you work both the public holiday and the observed holiday days things are a little different for you.

The public holidays that fall on your shift will be treated as standard public holidays. You will be entitled to time and a half on your public holiday work days, and a day in lieu. On the observation days that are included in your ordinary work week. These will be treated like standard work days, and not additional public holiday days. So the amount of public holidays worked stays the same as other years, and does not change or double because you are working both the public holiday days and the observation days.

Annual Closedowns

Over the Christmas period some companies choose to have annual closedowns over a holiday period. This could be closing down a workplace for a period of time (holiday) or closing down a department. It commonly occurs at Christmas time, but can also occur for seasonal work for example if the company only operates during warmer months. 

During this period of a close down the employees may be required to take annual leave. Or if you do not have leave owing you may be required to take leave without pay. Additionally an employer must account for the public holidays within that period to ensure that the leave is accurate. If a workplace has an annual close down period then it is required to notify the employees at least 2 weeks in advance.

Working as a Contractor

Self employed workers or contractors are unfortunately not entitled to the standard holiday rules of a standard employee. Therefore they are not entitled to paid days off, or time and a half. If you have decided to work on a public holiday, or on an observed public holiday you can choose to charge extra for your work. If it is agreed to by both parties. For more information on the legality of working on a public holiday as a self employed person or contractor. Stuff talks more about employment rights as a contractor, here.  

New Zealanders like to enjoy their sunny holiday period. But it is important to know your rights as an employee, and how you should be paid. Ensuring you are paid correctly this holiday season. If you are still unsure if you are being paid correctly for your holidays, Employment NZ has more information about holiday pay. 

If you are currently looking for a job, or wanting to list a job over the holiday period. Make sure to take a look at Shopless’ job section, listed here.