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December 2020 Newsletter


Our office will be closing for the Christmas break, with the last day being Wednesday 23 December and a start-back date of Tuesday 5 January 2021. If you need any help or employment relations advice during this period, call Murray on 027 4300113 or via email:

Christmas and New Year Public Holidays 2020/2021
There are four public holidays over the festive period. Christmas Day falls on Friday 25 December, with Boxing Day (26 December) on Saturday. This means that Boxing Day is transferred to the following Monday (28 December) for those employees who work Monday to Friday. For those who would normally work on the Saturday, their public holiday falls on the Saturday. For them, Monday is a normal working day.

The same applies for the following week with New Year’s Day falling on Friday 1 January 2021 and 2nd January falling on a Saturday. The 2nd January will be transferred to Monday 4 January for those who work Monday to Friday. Those who would normally work on the weekend will treat Saturday 2 January as their public holiday. Monday 4 January is a normal working day for them.

Check out MBIE’s flow chart regarding public holidays: for more information.

Closedown Periods
Many organisations close down at Christmas-time and return to work sometime in the New Year. During closedown, employees are normally expected to take annual leave from their annual entitlement. There may be some employees who have not been employed with the organisation for 12 months and therefore may not have sufficient accrued leave to cover the holiday closedown period.

Employees who have been employed for less than 12 months MUST be paid 8% of their gross earnings irrespective of whether it is more or less than the closedown leave period. The employee’s anniversary date for annual leave then becomes the closedown date and they begin to accrue annual leave from that date onwards.

Employees wo have insufficient accrued leave (holiday pay) to cover the whole period of the closedown can be granted leave in advance to cover the difference, but only if the employer and employee agree.

Employees who have more accrued leave (8% gross earnings) than needed for the closedown period MUST still be paid the full 8%. This appears absurd, but it was clarified in a 2020 Employment Court decision between Metropolitan Glass & Glazing Limited v The Labour Inspector, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (decision 14 April 2020). Click on the link if you want to read the decision in full:

For those who want to see it in “black and white”, you can also check out the Holidays Act 2003, section 34(2) where it states that the 8% must be paid.

Minimum Wage Increase
Reminder: The minimum wage has been confirmed as increasing to $20 an hour for an adult from 1 April 2021, so make sure your payroll system is adjusted accordingly.

From the team at Employer Services Limited, we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year and new decade!

Murray, Wendy, Dave and Eric