Public Holiday Refresh – Easter 2024


As we approach the Easter long weekend, it is a good time to reflect and refresh our understanding of obligations and entitlements on public holidays. In this article we review the rights and obligations of employers and employees with a specific focus on the Easter Weekend.

Public Holidays

In New Zealand there each employee is entitled to a maximum of 12 public holidays each year. In 2024 this includes:

New Year’s Day

Monday, 1 January 2024

Day after New Year’s Day

Tuesday, 2 January 2024

Waitangi Day

Tuesday, 6 February 2024

Good Friday

Friday, 29 March 2024

Easter Monday

Monday, 1 April 2024


Thursday, 25 April 2024

King’s Birthday

Monday, 3 June 2024


Friday, 28 June 2024

Labour Day

Monday, 28 October 2024

Christmas Day

Wednesday, 25 December 2024

Boxing Day

Thursday, 26 December 2024

Regional Anniversary date

(varies across each region)


Easter weekend

Easter dates vary from year to year and are determined by the Catholic Church. This year Easter weekend (which includes Good Friday and Easter Monday) falls on 29 March 2024 – 1 April 2024. Although Easter Sunday is observed, it is not a public holiday.

Are there different trading hours on Easter?

Shops are not required to close on Easter Monday. However, under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1990, almost all shops must be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Although Easter Sunday is not a public holiday it is also subject to trading restrictions. Additionally, all shop employees (employees who work in or from a shop) also have the right to refuse to work on Easter Sunday. They do not have to give their employer a reason for refusal, and employers are not able to treat them adversely as a result.

Employees that do not work on Good Friday and Easter Monday

Employees are entitled to a paid day off if the public holiday falls on a day that would otherwise be a working day for them.  If the employee would have been working the day if it was not a public holiday (such as Good Friday or Easter Monday) then it would be an otherwise working day.

For example: If Paul works on Friday’s and Monday’s, he would be entitled to a paid day off for each day, or additional benefits in the event he works on either day.

If you are an employer and have employees who are casual, or work an irregular pattern of days, we suggest seeking legal advice if you are unsure of their entitlements.

Employees that work on Good Friday and Easter Monday

Not all businesses can or will close on public holidays. It is important to ensure employees that do work on Good Friday and Easter Monday are correctly compensated for working on the public holiday.


Employees that work on a public holiday are entitled to a be paid time and a half.

For example: If Paul works six hours on Good Friday (public holiday), he will get paid for the six hours he worked, plus an additional three hours. This would mean his total pay for the day would be calculated as if he worked nine hours.

Alternative Holiday

Some employees may also be entitled to an alternative day off.  If a public holiday falls on a day that would otherwise be a working day for an employee (as explained above), and the employee works on the public holiday, they can take their ‘public holiday’ on another day which is to be agreed between the employer and the employee.

If the employee and employer are unable to agree when the employee will take their alternative day off, the employer can on a reasonable basis, determine a date the employee must take their alternative day. However, we stress this must be done on a reasonable basis, and the employer should give the employee at least 14 days’ notice.

If the employee is unable to take their alternative holiday during their employment, this will be paid out at the end of their employment.

Looking forward to the weekend

The Black Door Law team wishes you all a safe and happy Easter Weekend. If you have questions about your rights or obligations regarding public holidays, including updating your policies to reflect the ability to transfer that public holiday, or if you have any other employment law related questions, get in touch here.

Disclaimer:  This information is intended as general legal information and does not constitute legal advice.  If you have a specific issue and wish to discuss it get in contact with the Black Door Law team.