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How many annual holidays you get

All employees are entitled to at least 4 weeks’ paid annual holidays (annual leave) for each year they have worked for their employer.

You get your annual holidays entitlement on the anniversary of the day you started working for your employer. 

Your work anniversary can only change if:

  • your work has an annual closedown, or
  • you take a continuous period of leave without pay of more than 1 week.

Most employers let you take annual holidays before your 1-year anniversary — this is called leave in advance.

Your employment agreement must set out how many annual holidays you’re entitled to. 

If you work regular hours

You’re entitled to at least 4 weeks’ paid annual holidays a year if you work regular hours for an employer in a full-time or part-time job. This does not include public holidays or sick leave.

Your annual leave balance is:

  • given to you in full each year on the anniversary of the day you started work, or
  • built up (accrued) as you work so they add up to 4 weeks at the end of each year.

If your work hours vary each week

If you do not have set hours, your employer can decide with you what 4 weeks’ leave means and then record this in your employment agreement.

If you’re on a fixed-term contract or work off-and-on

In some situations you may be paid extra instead of earning annual holidays, but you have to agree to it in your employment agreement. This applies if:

  • you’re on a fixed-term contract of less than 12 months, or
  • you work so intermittently, or off-and-on, it’s not practical for your employer to give you 4 weeks’ annual holidays.

Pay-as-you-go for fixed-term or changing work patterns — Employment New Zealand

If you contract or work for yourself

If you’re self-employed, you do not earn any paid leave.

Find out more information about annual holidays on the Employment New Zealand website:

Impact of parental leave on annual holidays

When you’re on parental leave you continue to build up annual holidays.

When you return to work after parental leave, you’re still allowed to take 4 weeks’ annual holidays a year, but what you get paid is likely to be less because your average weekly earnings over that time were less.

Carrying over annual holidays

Your annual holidays do not expire if you do not take them within the year — but your employer might have limits on how much leave you can carry over.

If you build up too much leave:

  • your employer can make you take some or all of it — following a fair process
  • you can cash up some of your annual leave — though your employer has to agree to it.

Cashing-up annual holidays — Employment New Zealand

Other types of leave

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