10th March, 2019

FAQ: Overcoming Easter payroll challenges

Four-day weekends, public holidays, restricted shop trading days, leave entitlements, days in lieu… Easter can feel like the perfect storm for small businesses for those taking on payroll alone.

Traditionally, Easter is celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere as a time of rebirth and renewal. But in New Zealand, it’s often associated as a crunch time for many business owners.

And owing to the fact that it’s a time of public holidays, this can make payroll management particularly tricky for small business owners attempting it on their own.

To show you you’re not alone in your struggles, MYOB has shared the answers to the common questions they get at this time of year to help you get your Easter payroll sorted early.


Your guide to Easter payroll

If you normally process payroll on Friday or Monday, you’ll need to do it earlier, on a day when banks are open to make sure your staff get paid in time.

Q: Can I ask my employee to work over Easter?

Provided you’ve given your employee adequate notice, and it’s written in their Employment Agreement, you can expect them to work on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

While Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, you do need to let your employees know that they have the right to refuse to work.

Q: What do I pay an employee who works a public holiday?

If an employee works a public holiday, they’re entitled to be paid at least time and a half for the hours worked. And, if the public holiday happens to fall on a day they normally work, they’re also entitled to an alternative holiday day (day in lieu).

Alternatively, if you have an employee who’s happy to work on a public holiday and it doesn’t fall on a day they usually work, they’re entitled to time and a half pay only.

It can be tricky to determine if the public holiday would be a “normal” day of work if they don’t have a clear work pattern.

Use MBIE’s otherwise working day calculator as a guide.

Q: Is Easter Sunday ‘Mondayised’?

Short answer, no.

Public holidays are usually ‘Mondayised’ if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday and the employee would not normally have worked on that Saturday or Sunday. It basically means an employee’s public holiday is moved to the following Monday (or sometimes Tuesday).

But since Easter Sunday is not a public holiday, this doesn’t apply.

Q: What pay calculation do I use to pay staff taking the day off?

In most cases, if your employee normally works on the day of the public holiday that they’re now taking off, you should use relevant daily pay as a basis for pay calculation.

If this isn’t practical, then use average daily pay.

Check out MBIE’s relevant and average daily pay calculator to help.

Reminder: Payroll compliance changes

There are a number of compliance updates that take effect from 1 April this year.

On the 1 April 2019:

  • The annual ACC threshold increases from $126,286 to $128,470
  • The maximum ACC levy increases from $1,755.37 to $1,785.73
  • The annual student loan repayment threshold for 2019-20 increases to $19,760
  • Minimum wage increases to $17.70 per hour
  • Additional KiwiSaver contribution rates of 6 percent and 10 percent are available
  • Payday Filing is mandatory for all employers
  • Domestic Violence Leave is a new leave entitlement

Your Easter cheat sheet



It’s times like this that getting some support can save you a lot of time and stress. At MYOB, we have a team of payroll experts at the ready for this exact reason. If you need assistance with payroll, call us on 0800 60 69 62. We’re here to help.