It is important to us that our team members use annual leave to remain refreshed and healthy. We also know that circumstances such as sickness, family responsibilities, birth of children and bereavement can legitimately impact their working lives. Accordingly, you need to understand and manage a variety of leave entitlements. This section describes these entitlements.

Our provisions for leave are in accordance with prevailing legislation including the Holidays Act 2003 and Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act and are described in our Core Terms & Conditions of Employment. Set out below is a summary of each leave area including links to a ‘plain English’ explanation of the relevant law and some guidelines for managing the leave. Contact HR if you have questions or need advice.

Leave must be approved in advance: taking leave affects our business so  leave needs to be pre-approved and we need as much notice as possible. You need to make sure your team submit appropriate leave applications and that you approve them promptly.

Public Holidays

The Holidays Act 2003 provides for the public holidays listed below. Employees will be paid for the holiday when it falls on a day that would otherwise be a working day for them:

  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Boxing Day (26 December)
  • New Year’s Day (1 January)
  • 2 January
  • Waitangi Day
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • Anzac Day
  • The birthday of the Reigning Sovereign
  • Labour Day
  • Relevant Provincial Anniversary Day (or some other day as an alternative)

See an explanation of the legal rights and obligations around Public Holidays. Our handling of Public Holidays is as follows:

Working on a public Holiday: It is a condition of employment [see Core Terms & Conditions] that employees may be required to work on a public holiday.

Payment: Work on the public holiday is paid in accordance with the relevant CEA/IEA Core Terms & Conditions the employee is employed on. These Core Terms & Conditions are found on the intranet.

Alternative (or Day in Lieu) Holiday: those who work on a public holiday which for falls on what is, for them, a normal working day  are also entitled to an alternative holiday. In some areas of the business employees also have specific clauses in their agreement regarding other conditions where they are entitled to a time in lieu. Note: Casual staff, who do not have any normal working days, have no ‘day in lieu’ entitlement.

Those who only work Public Holidays: receive one and a half times the proportion of relevant daily pay, relevant to the number of hours actually worked on the public holiday but are not entitled to an alternative paid holiday.

Scheduling of Days in Lieu: employees may request when they would like to take an alternative holiday, but, as with all holiday time, this is subject to approval from employees as their Manager. If no agreement is reached, and/or it is over 12 months since they became entitled to the alternative holiday:

  • We may, upon 14 days notice require them to take the alternative holiday(s); or
  • The employee may request that these days be paid out in lieu. Note: This is not standard practice at for us. In the first instance we should ensure that employees are taking their time in lieu as actual leave.  Any payment, if granted, would be at ordinary pay.

Transfer of Public Holidays: if Christmas Day or Boxing Day, New Year’s Day or 2 January falls on either a Saturday or Sunday, those public holidays shall be treated as follows:

  • If the public holiday falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, and one or both of those days would otherwise be a working day for the employee, then the public holiday shall be observed and treated as falling on that day.
  • If the public holiday falls on a Saturday and the day would not otherwise be a working day for employees, the public holiday shall be observed and treated as falling on the following Monday.
  • If the public holiday falls on a Sunday and the day would not otherwise be a working day for employees, the public holiday shall be observed and treated as falling on the following Tuesday.

Mondayisation of Anzac and Waitangi days: refer to the relevant CEA/IEA for how employees working on these days are to be treated.

Annual Leave

The Holidays Act 2003 provides for Annual Leave. See an explanation of the legal rights and obligations around annual leave. Our handling of annual leave is as follows:

Basic Entitlement: after twelve months continuous service, employees are entitled to the annual holidays specified in their Employment Agreement.

Taking of Leave: employees must agree with their Manager when they will take holidays. We encourage employees to provide as much advance notice as possible (but at least two weeks) so we can schedule leave and cover and therefore accommodate the employees wishes.

We may ‘close down’ for annual leave: where we deem it operationally appropriate we may hold one “close down period” for all or part of our operations and require employees to take some or all of their annual leave.

Cashing up of annual leave: the law allows employees to cash up one week of their annual leave entitlement. So that employees actually get a break we will only grant such a request in exceptional circumstances. Requests must be in writing to the employee’s manager with sufficient detail of the reasons why the request should be granted. The Manager will then refer the request to HR for processing.  Payment in lieu of leave will;

  • Relate to leave accrued during the current entitlement year (i.e. post your anniversary date, and not for periods before or after the current entitlement year).
  • Be calculated on either the employees ordinary weekly pay or average weekly earnings over the last twelve months (whichever is the greater).
  • Be made as soon as is practicable and generally in the next pay cycle following approval.

Note – Alternative holidays must be taken within 12 months or exchanged for payment (Holidays Act)

Accumulating Annual Leave: as a general rule, we do not allow accumulation of leave from one year to the next. Refer to the relevant Terms and Conditions for annual leave administration details.  In special circumstances, we may agree to leave being taken at a later date, or in advance, provided that the request and approval is in writing. If we cannot agree when an employee will take holidays, we may, upon 14 days notice, require them to take leave owing at a nominated time.

Sick Leave and Absences due to Illness or Accident

The Holidays Act 2003 provides for the sick leave for situations where the employee, their spouse or a dependant is sick or injured. Our approach sick leave is as follows.

Entitlement: After six months continuous service, employees are entitled to ten days paid sick leave per annum if they or their spouse is sick or injured or if a person who is dependent on the employee for care, is sick or injured.

Payment: Sick pay is calculated according to the relevant daily pay  for the day of absence.

Accumulation: Employees can accumulate any unused entitlement each year.  Accumulated sick leave not taken is not paid out upon the termination of employment.

Verification: Generally a medical certificate is not required within three consecutive working days however employees may be required to produce a medical certificate to verify the illness or injury they have claimed, and to support their claim for sick leave in any of the following circumstances:

  • Generally, after employees have been absent for sick leave absences of three days or more. You must give notice of the requirement at the time when the employee reports in sick and reimburse reasonable expenses of obtaining the certificate;
  • Where an employee is using sick leave to care for another person such as a spouse or child;

Refer to the relevant Terms and Conditions for sick leave administration details.

We required medical assessment: we may require an employee, at our direction and expense, to attend a medical or professional assessment:

  • To support or accompany a work related injury claim managed under the ACC Partnership Programme;
  • Where we have reasonable concerns the employee may not be fit to attend work or;
  • For a second opinion about the nature and/or length of an anticipated period of leave and, where appropriate, to get a detailed report on the nature and origin of their incapacity, illness or injuries and their suitability for work (including alternative duties as available) and strategies for their appropriate rehabilitation.

In these cases, employees consent to a copy of the results being supplied to us and copied to themselves. Refusal or failure to provide a medical certificate, or attend the assessment may be regarded as misconduct.

Managing excessive sick leave: If you believe an employee is taking excessive sick leave or that their sick leave is not genuine you should discuss the case HR.

Alternative duties: During any recovery period employees may be cleared to return to work to carry out alternative duties, either part time or full time, which are within their capabilities as assessed by their doctor or by the person who has assessed them.

Work-related illness or stress: We expect employees who become aware or suspect they may be suffering the effects of work-related illness or stress to notify their manager immediately and to co-operate by taking any required steps to reduce or remove the effects of such work-related illness or stress.

Work-related ACC claims: an employee who has a work related accident which requires them to file a claim must tell the manager within one working day of making the claim and provide us with copies of all related documents. Employees are required to follow our accident and incident reporting procedures. Refer Workplace Accident Brochure or Workplace Accidents procedure information sheet.

Bereavement Leave

After one month continuous service, employees are entitled to paid bereavement leave at our discretion, however this generally will not exceed three days. Bereavement leave is to discharge any obligation and/or to pay respects to a decreased person with whom the employee has had a close association. Such obligations may exist because of blood or family ties or because of a particular cultural requirements such as attendance at all or part of a Tangihanga (or its equivalent) or responsibility for ceremonies. Requests for additional bereavement leave, on a paid or unpaid basis, shall be at the our sole discretion..

Employees receiving ACC payments: Neither sick leave nor bereavement leave will be paid to employees who are receiving ACC payments.

Notification of sick or bereavement leave: Employees must notify us as early as possible on the day itself or in advance where possible, if they need to take sick or bereavement leave. This is in order to ensure that work can be re-distributed as easily as possible with minimum disruption.

Parental Leave

Under the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act  parental leave is available to employees who are having a child, and to their partners. It is also available to employees, male or female, who are adopting a child under five years old.

Eligibility: to apply for parental leave an employee must have worked for the same employer for an average of at least ten hours a week for the immediately preceding twelve months, or the immediately preceding six months. 

Types of leave: there are a variety of types of leave including; special leave, maternity leave, paternity leave and extended leave.

Job protection: where an employee takes parental leave of four weeks or less, the job must be kept open. When an employee applies for extended leave (up to 52 weeks) the act presumes the employer will be able to grant the leave and keep the employee’s position open. Read more….. 

Applying for parental leave: There are clear  rules and procedures for dealing with parental leave applications. Applications for parental leave must be in writing to the employer, in most cases at least three months in advance. There are some exceptions for medical or work problems during pregnancy, and special provisions for adoption. Employees applying for parental leave must supply a certificate from their doctor and provide notice of when they propose to return to work.

Paid Parental Leave: Eligible employees are also entitled to claim up to 14 weeks of their parental leave entitlement as paid leave. The payment, which is funded by the taxpayer through the Inland Revenue Department, can be taken by one parent or shared between two eligible partners (including partners in same sex relationships). The payment provides replacement income where the parent is taking parental leave from their existing employment. Read more…..   Refer our Parental Leave Policy for application information.

Jury Service

Where an employee is obliged to undertake Jury Service, their ordinary pay shall continue to be made up by us, provided:

  • The employee provides letter of verification of juror fees and pays the fees  (excluding reimbursement payments), and
  • The employee returns to work immediately on any day they are not actually serving on a jury or if the jury is not required for the whole day.

Jury service leave must be applied for and recorded on an employee’s leave record. [/su_spoiler][/su_accordion]

Unpaid Leave

Sometimes an employee will request additional, unpaid leave either where they have no existing entitlement to annual leave or wish to preserve their annual leave.  By law, employees have no legal right to unpaid leave in these circumstances, granting of any leave is at your discretion. Factors you should take into account include; the period of leave requested, impact of their absence on the business, whether they have annual leave entitlements they should use, do they have ‘days in lieu’ accumulated from working on public holidays and what’s their track record with us. You should require the employee to put their application in writing including details of the reason for the leave, its duration and dates and any explanation why they would not take applicable annual leave instead.   Such leave shall be approved solely at our discretion. For up to five days leave without pay approval can be given by the Functional Manager, for more than five days written approval from the Group Manager is required.   Approval will depend on the individual circumstances of both the application and our ability to release an employee. When an employee is granted leave without pay which extends beyond a four-week period, re-employment may be conditional upon a suitable position being available at the time of returning. The conditions under which leave without pay is granted shall be set out prior to the leave being taken and shall include reference to the standing of benefits such as sick leave, continuity of service etc.

Protected Voluntary Service (Armed Forces)

An employee who undertakes protected voluntary service or training in the Armed Forces, necessitating an absence from employment is entitled to three weeks total unpaid leave per annum under the Volunteers Employment Protection Act 1973.

Special Leave

In certain circumstances special leave may be granted by the Chief Executive following a recommendation from a Group Manager for an employee:

  • Wishing to travel overseas to gain work experience.
  • To undertake further studies.
  • To represent New Zealand in a nationally registered sport.
  • For important personal reasons or extenuating circumstances.

Such leave may be granted with or without pay and shall be at our sole discretion.

Also special leave with or without pay may also be granted for “community work” e.g. Search and Rescue, Volunteer Fire Brigade or School Board of Trustees training day. Requests for leave with or without pay will be considered on an individual basis. There is no fixed policy.  When an employee is granted special leave without pay which extends beyond a four week period, re-employment may be conditional upon a suitable position being available at the time of returning.  The conditions under which special leave is granted shall be set out prior to the leave being taken and shall include reference to the standing of benefits such as sick leave, continuity of service etc.

Refer our Leave Policy for more specific details on the above leave types. [/su_spoiler][/su_accordion]