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Paying Employees During Easter

Published April 05, 2022 (last updated July 14, 2022) - NZ Operations Manager

Public holidays allow Kiwis a chance to put down tools to celebrate a religious or cultural event, or just to relax. Many employees in New Zealand will do just that over the coming Easter weekend, and on ANZAC Day, which this year will occur about two weeks after Easter.

But, if you run a café, or operate in the tourism industry, a public holiday may be your busiest time of year, and you will need all hands on deck. What do you pay them? Do they get time off? Can you even ask them to work on public holidays?

Asking Employees to Work on Public Holidays

An employee can be made to work if the public holiday is observed on a day the employee would normally work and their employment agreement says they have to work on the public holiday.

If the employee is made to work, there is a public holiday rate of pay which is time and a half and the employee will also get another paid day off later, otherwise known as a day in lieu. If an employee works a public holiday which is not a usual day they would work, the employee is entitled to time and a half.

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Public Holiday Rates

Public holiday rate of pay is time and a half.

If the employee is made to work, there is a public holiday rate of pay which is time and a half for each hour worked. In certain circumstances, the employee will also get another paid day off later, otherwise known as a day in lieu or an alternative holiday.

Misconception: ‘I already pay above the minimum wage, so I’m already covered for public holiday rates’

It’s great that you pay above the minimum wage, but it doesn’t automatically exempt you from paying public holiday rates. You still have to pay the public holiday rate for an employee who is working a public holiday, but you may be able to pay the employee a higher rate of pay to off-set a certain amount of public holidays, depending on the provisions in the applicable collective agreement and their employment contract.

Easter Weekend: What to Pay?

There is an added dimension to working on public holidays which can be best illustrated in the case of Easter and when employees work over this period. The public holidays for Easter are Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Easter Sunday is different again as it is not a public holiday itself, so if your employee works they are only entitled to their usual rate of pay. If the employee does not work on Easter Sunday, they are not entitled to a paid day.

Keep in mind that there are separate rules for shop employees. Employers of shop employees who want their employees to work on Easter Sunday must give them notice and the employee is allowed to refuse to work.

Easter Holidays 2022

 2022 dateIs it a public holiday?
Good FridayFriday 15 AprilYes  
Easter Saturday*Saturday 16 AprilNo
Easter SundaySunday 17 AprilNo
Easter MondayMonday 18 AprilYes
Easter TuesdayTuesday 19 AprilNo
ANZAC Day**Monday 25 AprilYes

ANZAC Day 2022

As above, ANZAC Day this year falls on a Monday. If an employee would normally work on a Monday, then they are entitled to public holiday rates for that day.

*If ANZAC Day falls on a Sunday. If an employee would not normally work on a Sunday, then they’re entitled to a public holiday on the following Monday. This is due to Mondayisation, which is covered here.

Download Our Public Holiday Guide

This guide outlines the options available to you in greater detail.

About Employsure

Employsure is one of New Zealand’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses, with over 5,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

This blog has been compiled on the basis of general information current at the time of publication. Changes in circumstances after publication may affect the completeness or accuracy of this information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, we disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions contained in this information or any failure to update or correct this information. It is your responsibility to assess and verify the accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability of the information on this website, and to seek professional advice where necessary. Nothing contained on this website is to be interpreted as a recommendation to use any product, process or formulation or any information on this website. For clarity, Employsure does not recommend any material, products or services of any third parties. 

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