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New Zealand Leave Laws

Table Of Contents


There are 10 public holidays in New Zealand

  • 1st January – New Year’s Day
  • 2nd January – Day after New Year’s Day
  • 6th February – Waitangi Day
  • Good Friday – varies
  • Easter Monday – varies
  • 25th April – ANZAC Day
  • 1st Monday in June – Queen’s Birthday
  • 4th Monday in October – Labour Day
  • 25th December – Christmas Day
  • 26th December – Boxing Day

Employees who work on public holidays are entitled to an extra pay. Employees may be able to take the holidays on another day – a day in lieu.  

Paid Time Off

PTO (Paid Time Off)

  • Vacation/Annual Paid Leave

Employees are entitled to four weeks’ annual leave each year when they have worked for their employer for 12 months.

The right to four weeks’ annual holidays per year applies to all types of employees. In limited circumstances, some employees may be paid their annual leave entitlement on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Employees can ask to cash-up up to one week of their four weeks’ minimum entitlement to annual leave each year.

If an employee has been working less than a year, then they aren’t entitled to annual holidays, but their employer may let them take some of their annual leave in advance.

  • Rollovers and payout of unused hours

  • Use-it-or-lose-it policy Not specified by law.

  • PTO payout at the termination

If an employee’s job ends before they become entitled to annual holidays (and the employer has not been paying annual holidays as paid-as-you-earn) the employer must pay out any outstanding annual holidays at 8% of the employee’s total before-tax earnings from the time they started the job to the end.

Maternity Leave, Child Raising Leave, Parental Leave

Maternity Leave (Primary Carer Leave)

Primary carer leave is available to:

  • female employees who are having a baby 
  • her spouse or partner 

employees who are going to have the primary responsibility for the care, development, and upbringing of a child under six years on a permanent basis; this may be through adoption, home for life, or whangai (but it doesn’t include a foster care or other temporary care basis). If the employee has a spouse or partner they need to choose who will be the primary carer.

Primary carer leave can be taken for up to 26 weeks and must be taken in one continuous period. Primary care leave can’t be taken if the employee has already taken any period of parental leave or similar leave in relation to that child.

Primary carer leave starts on the due date or the date childbirth starts if the child is born to the employee. In any other case primary carer leave starts on the date that the employee becomes the primary carer in respect of the child. The employee can start their primary carer leave up to six weeks (or earlier with the employer’s consent) before the baby’s due date or the date on which the employee will become the primary carer of the child.

Partner’s Leave

Employees are entitled to partner’s leave:

  • starting 21 days before the due date of the baby, or the date employee’s partner or spouse becomes the primary carer for a child under six years, and
  • ending 21 days after the baby is born (unless the baby is discharged from a hospital more than 21 days after the birth, in which case the partner’s leave timeframe ends on the day the child is discharged) or the date employee’s partner or spouse becomes the primary carer for the child.

Sick Leave

Employees are entitled to up to 5 days of paid leave. Employees are also entitled to take leave in order to take care of their sick or injured spouse, partner, child or any other person who depends on them.

Jury Duty Leave, and Voting Leave

Employees are entitled to a day off in order to vote if they haven’t had a reasonable opportunity to vote before starting work.

Bereavement Leave

Employees are entitled to bereavement leave if they completed at least 6 months of consecutive service, an average of 10 hours per week, and at least one hour in every week or 40 hours every month.

Employees are entitled to:

  • three days per death if a spouse or partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or spouse or partner’s parent dies.
  • one day per death if another person dies and their employer accepts they’ve had a bereavement.

Military Leave

Employees are entitled to take military leave in order to take part in:

  • full-time or part-time voluntary training or service (unpaid) 
  • active operational service, if they are called up or volunteer in a ‘Situation of National Interest’, war, or emergency.

Employers are not required to pay their employees while on leave but must hold employees’ positions and entitlements.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.