Working Life in New Zealand

The New Zealand job market is expanding, which is great news if you’re hoping to live and work in this glorious part of the world! The NZ government are actively encouraging skilled person’s to come here and contribute to the society and economy of the country.

This means that you’ll be able to develop your career while enjoying the fruits of NZ. Before you arrive, though, it’s fundamental that you look into the desired skills list and also if you’re qualifications are accepted here. To read more about this, check out our article on Finding A Job.

Work-Life Balance

So once you’ve discovered you can indeed pursue your dream job in NZ, (you may even have it lined up for when you arrive) you may be wondering how working life will differ from what you’re used to. Well, be prepared for a surprise!

But don’t worry, it’s a pleasant surprise. If you’re coming from the UK and have become accustomed to ‘the rat race’ then you may find the pace in NZ a bit of a culture shock, as the common working environment here is considerably more lax than a lot of places! It’s still professional, yet very friendly and informal.

You’re likely to find that your lunchtimes are spent together out in the sunshine, and a day’s work isn’t complete without a quick detour to a city bar before heading home. You’ll also notice that work relationships flourish quickly, which is largely down to this enjoyable environment.

This can also be attributed to people’s more relaxed attitude in NZ. Many management styles are informal, with management and middle management being friendly and immersed in the team. If you embrace this, you’ll even find that your colleagues become more like a second family to you, with lots of social activities occurring out of work. We also have a few suggestions on how to settle into life outside of work which you can read here.

All said, you’ll quickly understand what people mean when they say that New Zealand provides the best work-life balance. The ethos out here is that life is for living, and employers whole-heartedly understand this and implement it in the workplace.

Lunch time Kayak?
Lunch time Kayak?

Salary & Taxes

When it comes to salaries, it’s a lot like the UK in the sense that salaries for the same roles can vary hugely between employers. In which case, you are the best judge to determine what your salary should look like based on your skill set and living costs. Having this in mind will help you filter prospective jobs, and find the right organisation for your needs.

Again, like the UK, all employees are liable to pay income tax in NZ. You do have the option to start a job without initially paying any, but this isn’t recommended as you’ll end up being taxed later on at a much higher rate to accommodate this. Before starting your job, it’s also important to check how much tax you’ll be required to pay, so that you can factor this into your budget and living costs. These links to income statistics will help you ascertain this:

In order to pay tax you’ll need an IRD number which is free and easy to obtain – usually taking only take a few weeks. You will need to fill in an application form called an IR595, available to download on the Inland Revenue website:

Be warned – if you don’t have this number then you will get taxed at a very high rate!

Tax from your income applies to your first dollar earned, and income tax is deducted at the following rate with the respective salaries/wages:

Taxable incomeIncome tax rates for every
$1 of taxable income
(excl ACC earners’ levy)
PAYE rates for every
$1 of taxable income
(incl ACC earners’ levy – see “Note 1” below)
up to $14,00010.5 cents12.20 cents
from $14,001 to $48,00017.5 cents19.20 cents
from $48,001 to $70,00030 cents31.70 cents
$70,001 and over33 cents34.70 cents
No-notification – see “Note 2 below”45 cents46.70 cents

The only other thing that will be taken out of your salary is a small fee for the ACC (accident compensation injury insurance scheme) For more information about what this is check out my article here.

Employees Rights in New Zealand

For any job you do, you will have the basic employment rights set by the Kiwi government. These rights can differ largely from those of your home country; therefore it’s worth exploring these details online before travelling to NZ:

These rights are consistent for every employee in the country, so when you start your new job, make sure your employer is acting in accordance with the law.

Public Holidays in New Zealand

The following dates are the annual public holidays in New Zealand:

1st January – New Years Day.

2nd January – Day after the New Year’s Day.

6th February – Waitangi Day.

Good Friday.

Easter (Monday).

25th April – ANZAC day.

1st Monday of June – Queen’s Birthday.

4th Monday of October – Labour Day.

25th December – Christmas.

26th December – Boxing Day.

If any of the above holidays occur on the weekend then the following Monday is given off – happy days! Under the holidays Act 2003, all employees in New Zealand are eligible for a minimum of 4 weeks of paid holidays.

Taking everything into consideration, it’s safe to say that you can anticipate a healthy work-life balance in NZ. Enjoy!



Author: dawn


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