• By timehub
  • |
  • 30 Nov 2020
  • |
  • Share This

Managing Leave at Xmas is no "Holiday"

December is one of the most stressful times of the year for employers and payroll managers! 

While Christmas is a time for festivities and fun for your staff. for many payroll departments it's often a time when employee leave headaches rear up. 

This year will be no exception, and in fact it could be even more challenging when we take into account the impact of COVID and that we will have to deal with Mondayisation for Boxing Day and the day after New Years Day. Five out of 10 public holidays will be Mondayised (or Tuesdayised in one case) in 2021

No only do employers have to deal with determining if staff have leave available, they have to ensure that the Annual Leave is paid at the correct rate. 

Add to this the issue of Public Holidays and working out if staff who don't work the day/s should be paid for not working and then if they do work should they receive an Alternative Day off and the pressure mounts. 

Employees not only depend on their time off and in many case the pay associated with that leave, but the employer has to deal with making sure they are correctly understanding legislation that is unwieldy and confusing. 

Getting it wrong not only impacts the relationship between and employer and their staff, but it exposes the employer to serious penalties for getting it wrong.

Rather than writing a long post with our interpretation of the various acts associated with paying leave at this time of year we have put together a list of key information and links to sites that hopefully explain what your responsibilities are (Click the link below each heading):

1) Minimum leave and holidays entitlements

This is a summary of minimum leave and holiday entitlements for employees.

2) Calculating annual holiday payment rates

Payment for annual holidays is made at the start of the employee’s holiday and is at the rate of the greater of the employee’s ordinary weekly pay or average weekly earnings.

2a) How Covid-19 has affected workers' Christmas leave

Employers that forced staff to take leave during the Covid-19 level 4 lockdown will have a mess on their hands as the Christmas

3) Relevant daily pay and average daily pay

Public holiday, bereavement and sick leave and alternative holiday payments are calculated using relevant daily pay or average daily pay (if applicable). Annual holidays are calculated differently.

5) Public Holidays

Employees have minimum rights that apply to public and annual holidays.

6) Alternative holidays

An employee gets an alternative holiday for working on a public holiday that is an otherwise working day.

7) Employees working shifts or on call

Public holidays for employees working shifts or on call.

8) Annual Closedowns

If a business has an annual closedown, employees may have to take their annual holidays entitlement.

9) Cashing-up annual holidays

Employees can ask to cash-up up to one week of their four weeks’ minimum entitlement to annual holidays each year.

10) Otherwise working day

To work out an employee’s rights to holidays and leave, you need to know whether the day is an otherwise working day for the employee.

11) Pay for public holidays, sick and bereavement leave and alternative holidays

Payment for sick and bereavement leave, public holidays and alternative holidays is calculated using relevant daily pay or average daily pay.

12) What constitutes "Gross earnings"

Gross earnings is used in a number of different situations to calculate payment for holidays and leave.

13) Taking annual holidays

In general, employees should be able to decide when to take their annual holidays.

14) Mondayisation of Public Holidays

With Christmas Day and New Years Day falling on a weekend this year you need to consider Mondayisation. This flowchart will help you to work it out 

15) Finally a summary of Holiday and leave entitlement and payment ‘must-knows’

What employers and employees should know about calculating holiday and leave entitlements and payments.

As we said, there is a lot you need to know and understand to ensure you are compliant with all the legislation associated with managing employee leave, so we hope this helps.

The most important advice we can give you is that near enough is not good enough so if you are not sure we recommend that you seek guidance from a specialist adviser in this area or you contact Employment New Zealand as ask one of their advisors.

We have provided contact details below:

Employment New Zealand

For free employment information they are open from Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5.00pm, and Fridays 9.00am to 5.00pm, excluding public holidays. You can call them on 0800 20 90 20.

Or you can email them - Here

Please note: They can't interpret employment agreements, provide legal advice or bring personal grievances on your behalf. For legal advice, please consult a lawyer or visit your local community law centres.

Source of the information provided here Employment New Zealand