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Holiday Pay Guide

If you’re unsure what days and amounts (i.e., time and half and a day in lieu etc) you need to pay your employees over the holiday period, our holiday pay guide may help

This year Christmas day and New Year’s Day fall on a Tuesday, and Boxing Day and the 2nd of January fall on a Wednesday. There are no special rules for these public holidays this year. For holiday pay purposes, the public holidays are observed on the days they fall on.

What to pay your employee if they don’t work the public holiday
Employees are entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday, if they would have normally worked on that day (i.e., if an employee normally works on Tuesday, they are entitled to a paid day off this Christmas Day).

If the employee doesn’t normally work the day of the public holiday they are not entitled to a payment for the day. (i.e., if an employee doesn’t normally work on Tuesday, and Christmas is on Tuesday, they are not entitled to any payment – unless they end up working that day).

For most employees working a regular pattern of hours, the pay-cycle continues unchanged.

What to pay your employee if they do work the public holiday
If an employee works on any public holiday, they are paid at least time and a half for the time they actually work on the day.  

An employee may also be entitled to an alternative holiday (another day off on pay). The employee gets the full day off even if they only work for a small portion of the public holiday.

This includes employees working shifts and some employees on call. It is in addition to being paid time and a half for the hours worked on the public holiday.

  • An employee is not entitled to an alternative holiday if they:
  • work on a public holiday and that day is not an otherwise working day, 
  • are only employed to work or be on call on public holidays,
  • are on call on a public holiday but are not required to restrict their activities, 

Close-down periods or employees on entitled leave

If your employee is on annual leave through the Christmas and New Year period or your business has closed down for the holidays, the public holidays are treated as a paid unworked public holiday and they do not lose their leave entitlement, providing the public holiday is on an otherwise working day for the employee.

If you’re unsure, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.