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When you want to take leave

You and your employer have to agree when you'll take time off.

COVID-19: Employment NZ has guidance on work-related issues. 
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the workplace

Your right to take annual leave

You have the right to:

  • take at least 2 weeks of your leave at once, if you want to
  • take leave whenever you want, as long as your employer agrees
  • carry over leave into the next year — though your employer can make you take leave in some circumstances.

Your employer can:

  • tell you when you have to take time off, as long as they give you at least 2 weeks’ notice
  • restrict when you can take time off — for example, at busy periods.

If you do not take all your annual leave and your employer does not make you take it, then you do not lose that leave — it’s added to your next year’s leave.

Taking annual holidays

Taking leave in advance

If you do not have any annual leave and you want to take time off, your employer might agree to let you take paid leave in advance. When you reach your next anniversary, you’ll get your leave entitlement, minus what you’ve already taken.

What you’ll be paid when you’re on annual leave

Taking leave during an annual closedown

If your employer has an annual closedown, you have to take time off even if you do not have any annual leave. Annual closedowns often happen over Christmas.

Your employer must give you at least 2 weeks’ notice of the closedown.

You have to take:

  • annual leave over the closedown, or
  • unpaid leave if you do not have any leave available.

Unpaid leave

If the closedown period includes any public holidays, you’ll be paid for them.

If you’re in your first year of working for your employer

If you have not reached your first anniversary yet, you still have to take time off in a closedown.

If you do not have any leave, your employer must pay you 8% of the gross pay you’ve earned since you started working for them.

There are 2 other options for taking paid leave during a closedown, but they need your employer’s agreement.

  1. You can take annual leave in advance.
  2. Your employer can change the date you receive your annual leave allowance so you have some paid leave to tide you over the closedown. If they do this, then the date they choose must be near to the start of the annual closedown and it becomes your leave anniversary from then on.

Annual closedowns

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