How to simplify public holidays for late shifts
October 30, 2014
With the Christmas holidays looming, if you run a business that is open late at night, now would be a good time to consider how you treat public holidays. There was a little known change introduced in the Holidays Amendment Act 2010 that allows you to transfer the start and end times of public holidays so that the public holiday covers one whole shift.
Earlier in the week I had a timely reminder of this while helping out a payroll administrator of several bars with the way they recorded time around Labour Day. The bars stay open after midnight.
One employee worked until quarter past midnight on the Sunday night. Because the Monday was a public holiday, that extra 15 minutes is paid at time and a half and accrues a day in lieu even though the employee was not doing any more work on Labour Day.
Other employees were working across midnight on both the Sunday and Labour Day. Despite working a full shift on the statutory holiday, they receive the same alternate day allowance as the employee working only 15 minutes at the end of a shift. Additionally (when using midnight as the cut-off) both their shifts needed to be split into the hours on the Monday (for which they receive time and a half) and those on the other days (paid as ordinary time).
Since 2011, shifts that start and end on different days can be moved (“transferred” to use the terminology from the Act) so that the public holiday covers one whole shift. So in the case of the bar, the public holiday can be set to run from 06:00 am of the holiday through to 06:00 am the following day. This means that entire shifts are covered and don’t need to be chopped up. It can make things fairer for all staff, and make the administration of the holidays considerably simpler.
Note that there should be an agreement in writing that this is the approach that will be taken.
This article contains links to more information on how FlexiTime handles public holidays.