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Hours of Work in New Zealand

Maximum Working Hours & Overtime Laws in New Zealand

Standard hours

Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm, with half an hour lunch break. 

Maximum hours

Forty hours a week, not including overtime. Not more than five days a week.

Opt-out option

The employer and employee may agree on longer weekly hours, which should be reflected in the employment agreement.

Overtime compensation

Not mandatory, but companies usually pay the same or a higher rate to employees working overtime. An employee’s salary may never fall under the minimum hourly rate for all the time they work, including overtime. Employment agreements should include overtime clauses and wages.

The compensation of salaried employees need not be adjusted when they work more than their regular weekly hours unless this is provided for in the employment agreement.

Break rights

Employees are entitled to two 10-minute paid rest break during work and one 30-minute unpaid meal break. Women who breastfeed or express milk are entitled to extra breaks and facilities where practical (unpaid).

Employee Time Tracking Obligations in New Zealand

Employers are obliged to keep work time, holidays and leave records, proving they have given employees all minimum employment entitlements. Employees have the right to know and see everything recorded on their file.

The record-keeping must show a clear picture each day in an employee’s working year, including which days were worked on, which were taken off, when employees took leave and what type. Employers may take records on paper or electronically, and must keep them for seven years, even if the employee leaves the company.


Employers who do not keep all the accurate time, holiday and leave records may receive an infringement notice for breach of requirements. The Employment Relations Authority may fine them between NZ$50,000 and NZ$100,000 or three times the amount of financial gain made.

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