Workers' entitlement to public holidays are determined by the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. The benefit is decided by the employer in advance of the public holiday and can be one of the following: a paid day off on the day; a paid day off within a month; an additional day of annual leave; an additional days pay.
Under the Protection of Employees (Part-time Work) Act 2001, part-time workers have entitlement to benefit for public holidays once they have worked forty hours in the previous five weeks ending on the day before the public holiday. Casual workers are defined in the same Act as part-time workers who have worked for the employer for less than 13 weeks and where any pervious employment with that employer to date could not reasonably be regarded as regular or seasonal.
While not specifically defined in legislation, ‘paid annual leave’ is commonly held to be a period of rest and relaxation during which a worker is paid his or her normal wages. In this regard an employee is entitled to one of the following:
- Four working weeks in a year in which he or she works at least 1,365 hours (unless it is a leave year in which he or she changes employment;
- One-third of a working week for each month in the leave year in which he or she works at least 117 hours;
- Eight per-cent of the hours he or she works in a leave year (subject to a maximum of four working weeks).
If more than one method applies then the most favourable calculation is the one that pertains but subject to the statutory maximum of four working weeks. Annual leave is accrued on all hours worked and is earned from day one of the employment for all employees which includes part-time or casual employees.
Employees have entitlement to pay in respect of their annual leave. Pay for a week of annual leave where the salary is based on a time rate or fixed rate is equal to the amount paid to him or her in respect of the last normal week worked before the leave starts. This amount is to include any regular payment or allowance that does not vary in relation to the work done but does not include overtime.
Where pay has a productivity or commission based element the pay for a week of annual leave is calculated as an average of the weekly pay over the last 13 weeks worked.