Basic Facts

New Zealand, also known as Aotearoa, is an Oceanic island nation in the southern hemisphere. It is made up of over 700 islands, including the larger North (e Ika-a-Māui) and South (Te Waipounamu) Islands.  The total area of the islands is 268,021 square kilometers. To the east of New Zealand is Australia, which is approximately 1,200 miles across the Tasman Sea. It has the 52nd largest national economy globally by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). New Zealand is a member of several treaties and global organizations, including the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations Plus Six, and more.

*Please note that the official currency is the currency of remuneration when employed through WorkMotion in New Zealand.

Capital :
Currency :
New Zealand Dollar (NZD, $)
Languages spoken :
English, Maori, New Zealand Sign Language
Population :
5.12 million (2021 est.)
Minimum wage 2023 :
NZD 22.70 per hour
Cost of Living index :
$$$$ (18 out of 139)
Payroll Frequency :
Weekly, fortnightly, or monthly
VAT - standard rate :
GDP - real growth rate :
3% (2021 est.)

Statutory Holidays

The national holidays mentioned below are valid for the year 2024.

Holiday Name
Extra Information
January 1
New Year's Day
Can be taken January 3 in lieu
January 2
Day After New Year’s Day
February 6
Waitangi Day
March 29
Good Friday
April 1
Easter Monday
April 25
Anzac Day
June 3
King's Birthday
First Monday in June
June 28
Movable, Maori New Year
October 28
Labor Day
December 25
Christmas Day
December 26
Boxing Day

Contract Sharing Time

The approximate time for sharing the contract with an employee in New Zealand is 6 business days assuming no special requests or changes to our standard employment contract. Any such requests or changes would need to undergo internal and external review, directly leading to a time delay.

NOTE: This number is subject to change and is only an estimation of the Contract Sharing Time. The estimated Contract Sharing Time begins from the moment that WorkMotion has received all required information from both the client and the employee.

What You Need To Know

  • The government suggests that remote working should be facilitated where possible, and has issued guidelines with regards to information technology;
  • There are three different types of minimum wage, depending on if the employee is an adult worker, a starting-out worker, or a trainee;
  • Employees are entitled to request flexible working, such as shift changes, and the employer must consider the request fully;
  • Employees may take “stress leave” for mental health.

Labor Conditions

Working Hours

The employee should not work more than 40 hours per week, excluding overtime. When less than 40 hours are expected, the employer should fix the hours to be spread over no more than five days per week.


Overtime is not established specifically in any labor codes in New Zealand. Therefore, employers are not required to pay an increased rate for overtime by law, although some places of work may choose to. Any additional work outside of the agreed working hours is classified as overtime and is voluntary. There is no maximum number of overtime hours.


Trial Period

The trial period must be included in the employee agreement. The period can last any length of time, as long as it is established in writing and is considered “reasonable” in relation to the length of the contract.

Termination Notice Period

Notice periods are typically declared in the employee agreement. If there is not a notice period defined in the employment agreement, then it is normally between two and four weeks. This applies regardless of whether it is the employer or employee giving the notice to terminate the employment.

Leave / Time Off

Annual Leave

All employees who have been employed for 12 continuous months are entitled to a minimum of four weeks of paid annual leave. The exact amount offered must be established in the employee agreement. The employer must allow the employee to take up to two weeks of annual leave in a continuous period if they should choose to do so. 

Annual leave must be paid at the employee’s ordinary weekly pay at the beginning of the period of leave, or at the employee’s average weekly earnings for the 12 month period immediately prior to the end of the last pay period before the annual leave.

Sick Leave

After six months of continuous employment, the employee is entitled to 10 days of paid sick leave per annum. To become entitled to sick pay, the employee must work at least one hour every week or 40 hours across a month, on an average of 10 hours per week. The 10 days can be carried over at the end of a 12-month period, up to and inclusive of a 20-day allowance.

Stress Leave

Employees may use sick leave to handle workplace stress. After three days of consecutive leave, the employer may request to see a sick note from a healthcare practitioner declaring the employee’s fitness for work.

Parental Leave

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave in New Zealand is referred to as primary care leave. The first 26 weeks of leave are paid, and are taken at the parent’s discretion. The pay works out at the greater of:

  • An employee’s average weekly pay;
  • An employee’s average weekly income.

Up to a maximum of NZD 621.76 per week. This is funded by the New Zealand Government, under a scheme called Paid Parental Leave (PPL).

Paternity Leave

Paternity leave in New Zealand is referred to as Partner’s leave. Partner’s leave is available for a child’s secondary caregiver. Partner’s leave is unpaid and non-mandatory. The parent is eligible for this if they have been employed for at least six months, on a 10-hour average workload per week. After six months of service, the employee is entitled to one week of leave, and after six months of service the employee is entitled to two weeks of leave.

Adoption Leave

Employees who adopt children are entitled to 26 weeks of paid primary care leave in one continuous period. The employee can start their primary carer leave up to six weeks (or earlier with the employer’s consent) before the date on which the employee will become the primary carer of the child.

Other Types of Paid Leave

Bereavement Leave

An employee may take bereavement leave in line with the closeness to the deceased individual, the degree of responsibility for handling the death-related arrangements (such as funerals), and any specific cultural practices the employee may partake in in relation to the passing. For most types of bereavement, such as the loss of a close family member, the employee is entitled to three days of bereavement leave. Bereavement leave is paid at 100% of the employee’s daily income.

Family Violence Leave

Employees who experience family violence, regardless of whether it began prior to employment or not, are entitled to take 10 days of paid family violence leave during a 12-month period. The leave is paid for by the employer. The entitlement begins after six months of continuous employment, with a minimum of 10 hours per week, or no less than 40 hours per month during that period.

Vaccination Leave

Employees are entitled to paid time off during their agreed working hours to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, assuming it does not disrupt the employer’s business or the employee’s duties. 

Garden Leave

Garden leave is a duration in which an employee remains employed, including receiving full payment, but does not report to work. To use garden leave, it must be established in the employment agreement.

General Election Voting Leave

Employees are entitled to take time off to vote in general elections. For non-essential services, the employer must allow the employees to leave work by 3 PM. If the employee is needed for essential work, then the employer must allow the employee to take up to two paid hours to vote.


Unpaid Leave

Leave without pay (LWOP) is when an employer allows an employee time off work when they would otherwise be working, but does not pay them for this time. LWOP can affect the employee’s annual holiday payment and entitlement in some situations.

Defense Force Volunteers

An employer is obligated to allow employees to take unpaid leave during full or part-time voluntary or active service or training with the Armed Forces. Employers may apply to postpone the employee’s training or service if their absence would cause undue hardship.

After a Natural Disaster or Emergency

Exact provisions, such as granting leave in the case of personal or dependent injury, taken in terms of leave in the wake of a natural disaster or emergency varies based on employee agreements, and employee and employer need. The exact basis of leave should be negotiated between the employer and employee.

Jury Service

Although employers must protect the employee’s role while the employee completes jury service, there is no obligation to continue paying the employee for time spent away.

Statutory Benefits

The welfare system includes universal healthcare, a public pension, family tax credits, and more. In place of individual premiums, social security is financed through taxes. The social security system operates based on residence, is non-compulsory, and mostly non-contributory.

Employer Contributions Amount
Work Levy Variable based on industry, risk, claims history, and liable income
Working Safer Levy NZD 0.08/100 of payroll
KiwiSaver 3% (flat-rate)
Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) Scheme 1% of gross salary

Health Insurance

In place of mandatory health insurance, universal health coverage is provided in New Zealand. Public healthcare is funded through both the government and taxes.

Other Insurances

Accident Insurance

Both employers and employees (on a salary) have to pay levy fees to the Accident Compensation Corporation. There are two levies paid by employers; the Work Levy and the Working Safer Levy. Both levies are paid separately from general tax.

The rate for the Work Levy depends on the employer’s liable income or payroll, the level of risk of injury at work, and claims history. The Working Safer Levy is calculated at a flat rate of NZD 0.08  per NZD 100 of payroll or liable income.

Unemployment Insurance

There is not currently any form of unemployment insurance in New Zealand. However, a proposal outlining an income insurance scheme that would protect up to 80% of an employee’s income for up to six months if they should lose their work due to health-related job loss or economic displacement was forwarded for review. A final decision is still to be announced.

Public Pension

On each payday, employers must make both contributions and deductions towards the KiwiSaver pension scheme. The compulsory employer contribution is 3% of the employee’s gross salary.

The KiwiSaver is an occupational pension that operates on a voluntary basis for employees. Should the employee choose to enroll on the KiwiSaver, it is a compulsory contribution for the employer. The employee can choose to contribute 3%, 4%, 6%, 8%, or 10% of their salary. Employees also have the option of opting out of KiwiSaver in the first eight weeks of their enrolment.

The public pension in New Zealand is provided through the NZ Super on a non-contributory basis. The NZ Super is paid out to all individuals over 65 who meet the residence requirements.


The information contained in this Country Guide is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. The contents of this Country Guide contain general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this Country Guide without seeking the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. WorkMotion Software GmbH disclaims all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content included in this Country Guide.

Information provided in this Country Guide is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including without limitation warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. WorkMotion Software GmbH periodically adds, changes, improves, updates, or removes information without notice, and assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the contents of this Country Guide. This Country Guide may contain links to other websites. WorkMotion Software GmbH disclaims all liability for the privacy practices or the content of such websites.