The National Government has introduced some key changes to the Holidays Act which will take effect from 1 April 2011. Employees will be entitled to cash up to one week’s annual leave in each year of annual leave entitlement. An employer cannot force an employee to cash up their annual leave entitlements. Employers are entitled to form policies about the process and criteria of employee’s cashing up their one week’s annual leave entitlements. For instance, employers may choose to limit an employee’s request to cash up their annual leave to one request per year. Employers intending to create policies on this matter should seek legal advice before doing so as there are financial penalties associated with breaching these new provisions of the Act. An employee will also be entitled to transfer a public holiday to another day if the employee so wishes. The agreement may be with 1 employee or a group of employees, and may relate to the transfer of 1 or more public holidays. Employers and employees may agree to transfer public holidays because of the operational needs of the employer or the individual needs of the employee. For example, if Waitangi Day falls on a Wednesday, an employer and a group of employees who work Monday to Friday may agree to observe Waitangi Day on the Friday. Similarly, an employee may agree with his or her employer that he or she can observe Boxing Day on another working day that holds religious or cultural significance for the employee.
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