Christmas Close-Down and Other Legal Updates

Tuesday 1st December 2020

The team at Essential HR are Ho-Ho-hoping you are all organised for the Christmas holiday period.  For those able to close down and take a break, let’s see if we can help you do so without unsolved worries.  It’s all about planning – both for those who close and for those who stay open.

This update focuses on what planning is needed and how can we help.

Also – some recent changes on the legal side:

Increasing Sick leave

Help for seasonal workers

Next Step in Pay Equity!


Planning for Close-down

  • Remember you must give 14 days’ notice of any closedown.  For example, if your last working day is to be December 23rd, you must at the latest give your staff notification in writing by December 9th.
  • Where you need some staff to be on call during the closedown, make sure you have all arrangements properly documented; and as a general rule, any “on-call” arrangement will include some remuneration for being available as well as pay for the hours actually called out.
  • Make sure you have arranged for payroll for the closedown.  You may have some tricky questions this year – like how to pay staff when they don’t have enough annual leave (perhaps because they used it all up during the lock-down?).  And there will always be questions around stat day pay for variable pay workers.  Get these questions sorted out now – don’t wait for a 30 December payrun!
  • And one thing to be aware of regarding leave – for someone who has worked less than a year, the Holidays Act says they should be paid out 8% of their gross earnings for the year – and they start to accrue leave only from this closedown.  This is the only time you are allowed to simply pay out all accrued leave!


Planning for Not Closing-down

  • Please bear in mind that we (probably along with your accountant and payroll provider) will be operating only “on-call” for 2 weeks.  If you have anything in particular you expect to need, best to make contact now and we can plan it in!


Essential HR Support over the Christmas period

  • If you need us we will still do our utmost to help.
  • From 24th Dec to 31 Dec Beccy will be on call and from 31 Dec to 10 January, Mike will be on call.
  • Full services resume on Monday 11th January
  • Best is to contact us now for anything you want done before Christmas!  And please bear in mind that any restructuring or change process will normally need at least 3 weeks, so it is almost too late to run a full and fair process before Christmas.

Increasing Sick leave

Yesterday the government launched the Bill to increase sick leave to 10 days per annum.  Key points to note about this:

  • It will only likely take effect from mid 2021 (after a full Select Committee process)
  • They are not proposing to increase the maximum you can accumulate (this will stay at 20 days)
  • Implementation will be staggered (I’m not sure how or why)
  • If you already offer 10 days sick leave per annum, this won’t affect you.

Clearly, for staff who tend to use their sick leave up, this will mean effectively a 2% increase in cost (or a 2% loss of time), which you need to budget for.


Help for Seasonal Workers

The Government have announced a series of assistance for New Zealanders able to take up seasonal work – there’s a $1000 payment for anyone who completes at least 6 weeks’ work; $200 per week accommodation assistance for someone who moves to take up seasonal work and has ongoing accommodation costs in their primary residence; and support if they move off the benefit to take on such work, but then lose income because of poor weather.

This is on top of existing assistance like the $5,000 grant available to someone who moves in order to take up aa job that will last over 91 days.

Check out the government’s Seasonal Work Scheme and the Worktheseasons website:


Next step in Pay Equity

You may be interested to know that the PSA seem to have reached a Pay Equity settlement with the DHBs for their clerical and admin staff that should deliver up to $2500 per annum to staff working in those areas.  I think it is yet to be seen whether this will provide an upward pressure on low-level clerical and administrative jobs across the private sector.


If you need any assistance in making sure that you are all set up and complying with any new legislation, please get in touch – we are here to help!

For ongoing help, contact Mike on 027 2808546 and or Beccy on or 027 2909070 – and if you phone our landline 03 659 0377 you can leave a message that gets delivered to us automatically. 

Need help managing staff?

Mike has a wealth of experience advising on every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. I can give you per-phone guidance or work along side you to make things happen.

Keeping You Posted

11 April 2024

Essential Update - 11th April 2024

Read Now >
10 January 2024

Essential Update - First update of 2024

Read Now >
4 December 2023

Final 2023 Essential Update

Read Now >