New Zealand

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Country Snapshot

The GPS Country Snapshot includes 25 sections of information about labor law compliance in New Zealand. See a sample of popular sections below.

Termination of Employment

There is no legal limit on notice for dismissal in New Zealand. A notice period is agreed upon in the employment contract. If the employment agreement does not have a notice period, fair and reasonable notice must be given depending on the years of service, role, type of job, and common practice in the industry. The notice period is usually 2 - 4 weeks.

The notice must be given in writing and is usually the same for employees and employers. The employer can choose to agree with the employee to waive all or some of their notice period if the employee requests or consents to it. Payment in lieu of notice can also be made if it is in the employment agreement or is mutually agreed upon between the parties.

Work Permits

Foreign nationals who wish to work in New Zealand require a work visa. The following documents are required to apply for a work visa:

  • Proof of job offer
  • Proof of identity and good character
  • Passport and photo
  • Medical certificate

There are different categories of work visas that allow employees to stay temporarily for periods ranging from two to five years, or to apply for permanent residence after working for two years or 30 months. 

Paid Annual Leave

New Zealand does not have maternity leave. It provides different types of leaves that can be shared among partners under parental leave. Employees who have worked for an employer for at least 6 months are eligible for parental leave. The following types of leave are available at the time of a child's birth:

  • Primary Carer Leave - This is a paid leave of 26 weeks duration available to a pregnant employer, her spouse, partner, or whoever is the primary caregiver for the child. The employee can start their primary carer leave up to six weeks (or earlier with the employer's consent) before the due date. All employees receive a government-funded payment of NZD 712.17 (New Zealand dollars) per week for 26 weeks.
  • Special Leave - This is ten days of unpaid leave for pregnancy-related reasons such as antenatal classes, scans, or doctor/midwife appointments.
  • Extended Leave - This is an unpaid leave of up to 52 weeks to be shared by both parents, depending on the number of months they have worked for their employers.
  • Negotiated Carer Leave - This is an unpaid leave of 26 weeks for employees who have worked for less than 26 weeks with the same employer.

Employees must inform their employers in writing of their intention to take parental leave at the time of a child's birth at least 3 months in advance. 

Working Hours

Working hours are determined by employment contracts, but they must not exceed 40 hours per week (excluding overtime). If the maximum number of hours is less than 40, then the work must not exceed five days a week. Employees under 16 years of age cannot be employed between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM on any day.

If an employee or employer wants to change work hours, both should agree to this in writing in the employment agreement. Under special circumstances, working hours can be increased by giving reasonable notice to employees. Working hours may be reduced as an alternative to redundancy in some situations, such as genuine financial, commercial, or economic problems or genuine business restructuring.

Maternity Leave

New Zealand does not have maternity leave. It provides different types of leaves that can be shared among partners under parental leave. Employees who have worked for an employer for at least 6 months are eligible for parental leave. The following types of leave are available at the time of a child's birth:

  • Primary Carer Leave - This is a paid leave of 26 weeks duration available to a pregnant employer, her spouse, partner, or whoever is the primary caregiver for the child. The employee can start their primary carer leave up to six weeks (or earlier with the employer's consent) before the due date. All employees receive a government-funded payment of NZD 712.17 (New Zealand dollars) per week for 26 weeks.
  • Special Leave - This is ten days of unpaid leave for pregnancy-related reasons such as antenatal classes, scans, or doctor/midwife appointments.
  • Extended Leave - This is an unpaid leave of up to 52 weeks to be shared by both parents, depending on the number of months they have worked for their employers.
  • Negotiated Carer Leave - This is an unpaid leave of 26 weeks for employees who have worked for less than 26 weeks with the same employer.

Employees must inform their employers in writing of their intention to take parental leave at the time of a child's birth at least 3 months in advance. 

Minimum Wage

Minimum wage rates apply to employees aged 16 and over. They are set on an hourly basis by the government and are reviewed each year. There are 3 types of minimum wages: adult, starting out, and training. 

Current minimum wage rates are:

  • Adult minimum wage - NZD 23.15 per hour
  • Starting out and training minimum wage - NZD 18.52 per hour

Country Profile

The GPS Country Profile contains detailed information on over 60 topics related to labor law compliance within New Zealand.
  • Type of Employment Relationship
  • Permanent Employment
  • Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts
  • Temporary Employment Contracts
  • Part-time Employment
  • Young Worker Employment
  • Vendors and Independent Contractors
  • Types of Contracts
  • Probationary Period
  • Termination of the Contract of Employment
  • Grounds for Termination
  • Notice of Dismissal
  • Fair Dismissal
  • Redundancy
  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Suspension of Contract of Employment
  • Severance Benefits
  • Hours of Work
  • Work Week and Timekeeping
  • Night Work and Shift Work
  • Overtime
  • Remote Work
  • Required Time Off
  • Public Holidays
  • Annual Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Maternity
  • Other Forms of Leave
  • Social Insurance and Retirement
  • Social Security Contribution
  • National Retirement Scheme
  • Dependents’/Survivors Benefit
  • Life and Disability Insurance/Benefit
  • Statutory Allowances
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Minimum Wage (Basic Wage)
  • Bonuses, Profit Sharing and Other Compensation
  • Medical Insurance
  • Work Environment
  • Workplace Safety and Health
  • Prohibition of Discrimination
  • Prohibition of Harassment
  • Data Protection and Privacy
  • Whistleblowers and Retaliation
  • Workers’ representation in the organization
  • Freedom of Association
  • Registration and Recognition of Unions
  • Trade Union Personality
  • Collective Bargaining and Agreements
  • Disputes and Settlements
  • Strikes and Lockouts
  • Unfair Labor Practices
  • Taxation of Compensation and Benefits
  • Income Tax
  • Taxation of Employee Benefits
  • Tax Filing and Payment Procedures
  • Double Tax Relief and Tax Treaties
  • Visas and Work Permits
  • Visas
  • Work Permits and Residence Permits

 Country Snapshot

Get the full Country Snapshot with 25 sections of information about labor law in New Zealand.