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A Guide to Annual Leave Entitlements in New Zealand

When you assign employees abroad you are going to encounter different employment and labor laws, which can bring up questions from your staff.  We had a client sending an employee to New Zealand, and the employee had a specific concern about the types of leave he was entitled to because they weren’t included in the employment contract.

Our response was that the leave he was asking about is covered by statute in New Zealand, so there was no need to list the specifics in the contract.  New Zealand annual leave entitlements can be summarised as follows: 

Sick Leave in New Zealand

Employees in New Zealand are entitled to five days of sick leave per year, after they have worked for the same employer for six months.  The same amount of leave is given to part-time employees as well.

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Bereavement Leave in New Zealand

Bereavement leave is given to employees to take care of matters when a close family member or friend dies.  They receive three days for family members, and one day for non-family if they have some responsibilities for the ceremony or arrangements.  Both types of leave are given annually.

Annual Holiday Leave in New Zealand

After one year of continuous employment, employees are entitled to four weeks of annual holiday leave in New Zealand.  This leave is fully paid by the employer.

Accumulating Leave in New Zealand

For employees in their first year, their leave is accumulated at the rate of 2.9231 hours per week (4 weeks = 152 hours /52 weeks).  After the first year they will have accumulated the statutory four weeks, and then the new period of accumulation begins.  This calculation becomes important if the employee is terminated mid-year and a leave payout is required.

Normally, an employee has the option of using their leave when they wish, and an employer must give them the opportunity of a two week continuous leave each year.  If they don’t use the leave it can be carried over if the employer permits it. An employer also has the right to insist they take leave with a 14 day notice period.  Leave can also be cashed out instead of taken if the employer agrees.

The Shield GEO Solution

Calculating leave according to statutory minimums and local rules is one way we can support our clients with employees on assignment.  A company that does not meet the requirements can face costly penalties, so we make sure they have the most up to date information.

Shield GEO makes international employment simple, and our in-country experts and local partners handle every aspect of payroll, tax and immigration requirements.  This allows your HR department to focus on employee management and assignment success.

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Looking to hire an employee in New Zealand? Get in touch.

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