Waitangi Day - What HR needs to know

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In 2019, Waitangi Day falls on Wednesday 6 February.

Whether your workplace is opened or closed on Waitangi Day, it is important to know what entitlements apply to your employees, according to senior employment relations adviser, Vanessa Bainbridge, Employsure.

If Waitangi Day was to fall on a Saturday or Sunday, (which is not a working day for most employees), then the public holiday would be treated as falling on the following Monday.

“If you ordinarily work on the day of the Waitangi Day calendar date then there is no Mondayisation and your public holiday entitlements apply to the calendar date,” said Bainbridge.

This Mondayisation only occurs if the employee does not normally work on the calendar date of the holiday.

However, since Waitangi Day falls on Wednesday 6 February 2019 this year, there is no ‘Mondayisation.’

Moreover, businesses owners that require work on Waitangi Day, must pay employees at least ‘time and a half’ of their regular pay for the time worked.

According to Bainbridge, 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,” said Bainbridge.

“Business owners should also be aware that legally, they can only require their employees to work if the public holiday falls on a day that the employee would typically work and that the requirement to work the public holiday is detailed in the employee’s employment agreement.”

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, one of the following conditions apply:

  • 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

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