NZ FAQ Series: Employment

Learn all you need to know about being an employee in New Zealand.

Annual National Holidays

Each year New Zealand has 10 national holidays:

  • New Year’s Day (1 January)

  • Day after New Year’s Day (2 January)

  • Waitangi Day (6 February)

  • Good Friday (varies)

  • Easter Monday (varies)

  • ANZAC Day (25 April)

  • Queen’s Birthday (first Monday in June)

  • Labour Day (fourth Monday in October)

  • Christmas (25 December)

  • Boxing Day (26 December)

There is also an annual anniversary day observed – the date being dependent on where you live in New Zealand.

Silhouettes of People Holding Flag of New Zealand

Income Tax

All employees are expected to pay income tax and how much you pay depends on your salary. Rates vary from 10.5 cents of every dollar for someone earning up to $14,000 to 33 cents of every dollar for those earning $70,001 and over. You will need to set up an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number to pay your income tax. You can only apply for an IRD number once you are in New Zealand.


KiwiSaver is a government initiative to encourage people to save for their retirement.
You can choose to contribute 3%, 4% or 8% of your annual salary to KiwiSaver (deductions made from your salary each pay day.

In addition your employer will contribute 3% of your annual salary. You are eligible to get your money paid out when you are eligible to receive a pension (age 65). 

You may be eligible for an early pay out if you are buying your first home, relocating overseas permanently, and suffering significant financial hardship or are seriously ill.


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All employees are entitled to 4 weeks paid holiday leave (20 days) and 5 days paid sick leave per year after 12 months of continuous employment. Five paid days of sick leave per year is available to employees so they can care for themselves or their dependants. You may also be entitled to bereavement and maternity/paternity leave. See Employment New Zealand for more information.


The median annual salary for a construction worker in New Zealand can range from $37k - $135k NZD*. Most employees are expected to work 40 hours per week. New Zealand has a strong work / life balance and very few people work weekends. See Trade Me Jobs' full salary guide featuring all employment categories here



*Salary figures correct as of October 2nd 2017 on