Latest news

Home News News Another Public Holiday, by Dale Adamson
News • 2022-09-22

Another Public Holiday, by Dale Adamson

The normal public holiday rules apply.

  1. If the employee would normally work on the day and does so, they are entitled a minimum of time and one half for hours worked plus 1 day’s alternative leave to be taken in the future.
  2. If they would normally work on the day and do not, they receive 1 day’s pay.
  3. If the day is not a normal working day for the employee but they work it, they are entitled to a minimum of time and one half for actual hours worked, but no alternative day.
  4. If not normally the employee’s work-day and they did not work, no entitlement to payment or alternative leave.

Note these are minimums and the employment agreement may have more favourable terms, which would apply.

Rosters can’t be altered to avoid public holiday obligations.

An employee can only be made to work on a public holiday if it falls on a day that they would have otherwise worked on AND their employment agreement states that they have to work on the public holiday.

Are employees who are already on leave entitled to the public holiday?  If an employee, who would normally work that day, is on annual, sick, bereavement or family violence leave, the day is treated as a public holiday and the day off is not deducted from the other leave type.

As an employee would not have been available to work while on parental leave, during a period of planned unpaid leave or generally whilst on ACC earnings’ related compensation, there is no entitlement to the public holiday.

The calculation of the rate to pay varies according to the type of leave. Annual leave is paid at the higher of:

  • the employee’s ordinary weekly pay at the beginning of the annual holiday or
  • the employee’s average weekly earnings for the 12 months just before the end of the last pay before the annual holiday.

Note the reference to weekly earnings, as annual leave is expressed in weeks not days or hours.


Sick leave, bereavement, public holidays, alternative leave and domestic violence leave are paid at the employee’s relevant daily pay (RDP) or if not possible or practical to calculate this, average daily pay can be used.

RDP is the amount the employee would have earned if they had worked that day. It includes regular taxable allowances, commission & bonuses, overtime if normally worked on that day, and cash value of board or lodgings provided by the employer.

Average daily pay (ADP) is the employee’s gross earnings for the last 52 weeks divided by the number of whole or part days worked or on paid leave during that 52 week period.


One catch for alternative leave is that it is stated in days not hours. An employee is credited with one day for working a public holiday and one is deducted when a day is taken. For example: Jim usually works 6 hours on a Monday. On 26th September, he works 4 hours only and therefore gets 4 hours at time and a half and one day alternate leave.  He normally works 9 hours on a Friday and decides to use his alternative day on Friday 30th September. He gets paid 9 hours for the day. Jim gains more than he lost. If he hadn’t worked the Monday he would have been paid a public holiday of 6 hours.


A handy public holidays flowchart is available on our website and also has more information

See more News items