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A Guide to Waitangi Day Entitlements

Published January 31, 2017 (last updated June 5, 2023) - NZ Operations Manager

It is common that as Waitangi Day approaches, many people are excited to enjoy a day off from work. However as a business owner, a public holiday may be no time to rest.

Whether your business operates over the Waitangi Day public holiday or shuts down, it is important to be prepared. It is important to know when public holidays are because employees can get different entitlements on these days.

So, here is the complete guide to Waitangi Day for business owners.

When is Waitangi Day?

Waitangi Day is observed nationally and annually on 6 February.

If Waitangi Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, which is not a working day for most employees, then the public holiday will be treated as falling on the following Monday. This Mondayisation only occurs if the employee does not normally work on the calendar date of the holiday.

However, if the employee ordinarily works on the day of the Waitangi Day calendar date then there is no Mondayisation for them and their public holiday entitlements 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 only applies to the calendar date. They are not entitled to two public holidays.

Asking employees to work on Waitangi Day

All employees that work on a public holiday must receive at least ‘time and a half’ of their regular pay for the time worked. Employees that would normally work on the day the public holiday falls, additionally receive an alternative holiday for working on a public holiday.

Employees that do not work on the public holiday, but would normally work on the day the public holiday falls, receive a paid day off.

Payment for working on Waitangi Day

The starting point for deciding how much an employee should be paid for working on Waitangi Day is the employee’s relevant daily pay (or average daily pay).

Under the Holidays Act 2003, an employee gets the greater of:

  • the amount of the employee’s relevant daily pay (or average daily pay) for the time actually worked on the day (not including any penal rates that relate to that day) plus half that amount again (time and a half), or
  • the amount of the employee’s relevant daily pay that relates to the time actually worked on the day including any penal rates

An employee can get more than this if it is stated in their employment agreement.

If you have any questions about operating on Waitangi Day or what an employee’s pay for a public holiday should be, contact an Employsure specialist today on 0800 568 012. As New Zealand’s leading workplace relations specialist, we are here to help.

Happy Waitangi Day.

About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small and medium businesses, with over 5,500 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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