Alternative holidays

An alternative holiday (sometimes called a ‘day in lieu’) is a day off to take at another time. Employees get an alternative holiday when they work on a public holiday that falls on a normal working day for them.

What employees are entitled to

Employees are entitled to an when they:

  • work on a public holiday that would otherwise be a working day for them (an ‘ ’)
  • are on-call on a that is otherwise a working day for them, and they have to limit their activities on the day to the extent that they have not enjoyed a full holiday.

Regardless of how many hours they were at work or on call over the public holiday, they get a full day off for their alternative holiday.

Anna normally works 8 hours every Monday, but on a public holiday, which fell on a Monday, she only worked for 2 hours.

She is paid for the 2 hours worked at the rate of at least time and a half, and also gets an alternative holiday, on full pay. This means that if she takes the alternative holiday on a day she would otherwise have worked 8 hours, she will be paid for the full 8 hours.

When employees are not entitled to an alternative holiday

Employees are not entitled to an alternative holiday if they:

  • work on a public holiday that would not normally be a working day for them
  • are on call on a public holiday but are not required to restrict activities and are not called out (so do not work)
  • are only employed to work or to be on call on public holidays – for example, they’re employed to work at a racetrack for the Waitangi Day meeting.

Public holidays

Taking an alternative holiday

An employee can take an alternative holiday on any day that:

  • is agreed with their employer would normally be a working day for them, and is not a public holiday.
  • If they cannot agree with their employer when they can take the alternative holiday, their employer can choose the day. The employer must:
    • be reasonable and give the employee at least 14 days notice of the date they must take the day off.

Good faith

How to resolve problems

Payment for alternative holidays

An employee must be paid at least their (or if applicable) for the hours they would otherwise have worked on their alternative holiday.

Payment for alternative holidays must be made in the pay for the period during which the day off is taken.

Public holiday pay

Getting paid out for an alternative holiday

An employee can ask for an alternative holiday to be paid out if 12 months have passed since they became entitled to the alternative holiday and have not yet taken it.

The payment amount must be agreed by the employee and their employer and must be made as soon as practical once the agreement has been made.

When an employee finishes a job with alternative holidays untaken

Alternative holidays do not expire. If an employee is entitled to an alternative holiday that they have not taken when they leave their employment, they must be paid out for it in their final pay at the rate of your relevant daily pay (or average daily pay, if applicable) for their last day of employment.

Final pay

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