Time off not always at one's leisure
The employment relationship allows for terms and conditions of employment to be negotiated between the employer and employee. However, the law sets out various minimum entitlements that forms part of the employment relationship. These entitlements include certain leave provisions. The leave provisions include annual holidays, public holidays, sick leave, and bereavement leave.
A fulltime employee is entitled to four weeks' paid annual holiday for every 12 months that they have worked for the employer. Others have a corresponding annual leave entitlement depending on their hours, and still others (mainly casual workers) can agree to an 8 per cent payment on their salary which can be paid as you go or at the end of the agreement.
There can be an agreement between both parties that the employer will pay out in cash up to one week of the employees minimum entitled to annual holidays per year. The leave should be taken within a 12 month period, but there can be an agreement that employees can accumulate a certain amount of leave or for a specific purpose. An employer can require an employee to take their annual leave at a particular time because of the parties being unable to reach agreement on the timing of annual holidays and/or the workplace has an annual closedown.
An employer must give at least 14 day's notice of the requirement to take annual holidays at a particular time.
Employees are entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday, if they were otherwise working. New Zealand has 11 paid public holidays in a year. Some of the holidays fall on the day that they are on like Anzac Day, but if it falls on a weekend, and you don't work weekends, you will not be entitled to have pay for that day. However, Christmas and New Year's days are different, if they fall at a weekend, and an employee does not work those days, the holiday is transferred to the following Monday and Tuesday and the employee is entitled to those days off. If an employee works a public holiday, the employee is entitled to an alternative paid day off in lieu, and in addition a payment of at least time-and-a-half for the time actually worked.
In general an employee is entitled to a minimum of five days paid sick leave a year after the first six months of continuous employment. An employer can agree for an employee to take sick leave before the anniversary date and deduct this from the employees' entitlement. An employee must notify the employer as soon as possible. The employer can request a medical certificate if the employee is injured or sick for three or more consecutive calendar days, whether or not those three days are working days.
When an employee leaves a position the sick leave is not paid out, unlike annual leave. This can mean if the person has taken more that their sick leave entitlement, this may be deducted from their last pay.
In general an employee is entitled to bereavement leave after six months of continuous employment. An employer must allow the employee to take the following:
Three days' bereavement leave for the death of an immediate family member.
One days' bereavement leave for other accepted bereavements.
There is no limit on how much bereavement leave you can take on each occasion.