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Minimum leave and holidays entitlements

Summary of minimum leave and holiday entitlements for employees.

All employees, regardless of their classification (ie including part time, full time, fixed term and 'casual') but not including the Armed Forces, are entitled to at least:

  • four weeks of paid annual holidays (sometimes referred to as annual leave) after each 12 months of continuous employment for their employer, for rest and recreation. (Some employees, who meet specific criteria may agree in their employment agreement to be paid annual holidays on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis)
  • up to 11 public holidays each year, (if they are days they would otherwise work). These are days of national, religious, or cultural significance, and employees should be able to take them as leave, where possible
  • access to sick leave and bereavement leave:
    • after six months of current continuous employment with the same employer, or
    • after working for the employer for six months for an average of 10 hours per week, and at least one hour in every week, or 40 hours in every month.

Payment for annual holidays is calculated differently from payment for public holidays, alternative holidays, bereavement leave and sick leave. Employers must make sure that each holiday and leave type is calculated correctly. If you are not sure, contact us.

If an employee works on a public holiday they must be paid for their hours worked at the rate of at least time and a half. If the day is an otherwise working day for them, they will also be entitled to a paid alternative holiday (unless they are employed to work only on public holidays).

What employers must tell employees

When entering into an employment agreement, an employer must let the employee know:

  • about their entitlements under the Holidays Act 2003, and
  • that they can get more information about their entitlements from a union or from us. Employers can do this by referring employees to this website and/ or providing them with details on how to contact us.

The easiest way for an employer to show that they have done this is to include this information in the employment agreement.

If problems arise

If you are an employee having problems with getting your leave or holidays entitlements, you should discuss this with your employer first. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you can speak to your union representative or contact us.

Employees, (and their representatives) and Labour Inspectors may enforce the minimum rights in the Holidays Act 2003 including seeking penalties where there have been breaches of the Act.

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