payroll manager

How To Prepare For Public Holidays

New Zealand has ten public holidays a year, on top of a number of regional anniversaries.

For seasonal businesses, public holidays often mean a spike in business during a period when many permanent employees opt to take leave, resulting in an increased reliance on casual staff.

This means businesses need to forecast, plan and prepare well in advance to avoid skill gaps or staff shortages, and ensure all public holiday and penalty rates are factored into payroll and budgets.

Let’s have a look at how you should prepare your business for public holidays:

Know your public holidays

There are a number of national public and regional-based public holidays that you must be aware of.

New Zealand national public holidays

  • New Year’s Day
  • Day after New Year’s Day
  • Waitangi Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • ANZAC Day
  • Queen’s Birthday
  • Labour Day
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing Day

If you are operating across different regions, also knowing your regional holidays will be integral to staying compliant.

For example, if you are a Wellington-based business launching a promotional campaign in Auckland, and were unaware that it was Auckland anniversary day, you may be caught out underbudgeting or underpaying.

Regional anniversary days 2019

  • Auckland anniversary day
  • Buller anniversary day
  • Canterbury (South) anniversary day
  • Canterbury anniversary day
  • Chatham Islands anniversary day
  • Hawke’s Bay anniversary day
  • Marlborough anniversary day
  • Nelson anniversary day
  • Northland anniversary day
  • Otago anniversary day
  • Southland anniversary day
  • Taranaki anniversary day
  • Wellington anniversary day
  • Westland anniversary day

Be aware of Mondayisation

Mondayisation happens when an employee’s public holiday, which falls on a Saturday or Sunday is moved to the following Monday (or in some cases Tuesday).

Mondayisation only happens if the employee doesn’t normally work on the calendar date of the holiday. If an employee normally works on the day of the public holiday’s calendar date then there is no Mondayisation for them and their public holiday benefits apply to the calendar date.

If an employee would normally work on both the calendar date of the public holiday and the possible mondayisation date, their public holiday is on the calendar date. They don’t get two public holidays.

To understand more about Mondayisation, please head to Employment New Zealand.

What rate do I pay my casual staff on a public holiday?

According to Employment New Zealand, for working on a public holiday all employees must be paid (at least) the greater of:

  • the employee’s relevant daily pay or average daily pay (if applicable) for the time actually worked on the day (not including any penal rates in the employment agreement that relate to that day) plus half that amount again (time and a half), or
  • If there is a penal rate involved, the employee will be paid the relevant daily pay (or average daily pay) that relates to the time actually worked on the day including the agreed penal rates. The employee isn’t entitled to time and a half on top of the penal rate.

Plan ahead  

The normal rhythm of your roster may be disrupted as your permanent staff take leave, and it’s reasonable to assume your casual availabilities will also differ.

Businesses need to plan rosters with more lead time than usual to get on the front foot of any challenges that may arise–such as skill gaps or staff shortages.

It’s useful to analyse previous public holiday rosters in conjunction with performance indicators such as foot traffic or revenue–helping you understand the right level of staff required.

Public holiday periods are a really busy time for Sidekicker. We see many businesses, requesting staff last minute, often in a panic, because they didn’t plan effectively.

If you do you find yourself short-staffed over the public holiday period, Sidekicker has thousands of pre-screened staff ready and waiting to work across a number of industries.

To learn more head to

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