How to turn your 2022 annual leave into triple the days off

Many of us will be glad to see the back of 2021, but before we dive into 2022, it’s worth knowing how to boost your annual leave days for the coming year.

Here’s how to use 15 days of annual leave, in combination with public holidays, to get longer breaks throughout 2022 – including a 17-day stretch. All up, 45 days’ worth in 2022! Plus, we also show how to see out 2021 with time off, too.

Why it’s important to take annual leave

When used wisely, annual leave can reap huge rewards for you both personally and professionally. In fact, 39% of Kiwis say that regularly taking time out to concentrate on themselves and the things they enjoy has a ‘huge impact’ on their mental health.

Taking leave helps us achieve better work-life balance, says Amaria Osman Senior manager of Recruitment and Talent Acquisition at Stats NZ. “Annual leave is a chance to rest, reset, refocus, regenerate, recuperate and sometimes re-evaluate,” she says.

“Some people like to relax at home and do nothing, others like to get stuck into home projects that give enjoyment and a sense of achievement, others like to holiday where they can have new experiences or go to a familiar spot or batch. All of this is rewarding in some way.”

Get the most out of your annual leave by joining it with public holidays

Combining annual leave with public holidays is a great way to maximise your leave, and Osman recommends you organise your leave early.

“Talk through your plans with your workplace to make sure that work won’t pile up while you are away, or your absence doesn’t put strain on the team, business, manager or customers,” she says.

So, how can you make the most of your annual leave by combining it with public holidays?

Christmas and January 2022

You can get a 11-day break (December 25 – January 4) by taking just three days off from December 29–31.

  • Saturday 25 December: Christmas Day (weekend)
  • Sunday 26 December: Boxing Day (weekend)
  • Monday 27 December: Christmas Day public holiday
  • Tuesday 28 December: Boxing Day public holiday
  • Wednesday 29 December: Annual leave
  • Thursday 30 December: Annual leave
  • Friday 31 December: Annual leave
  • Saturday 1 January: New Year’s Day (weekend)
  • Sunday 2 January: Day After New Year’s Day (weekend)
  • Monday 3 January: New Year’s Day public holiday
  • Tuesday 4 January: Day After New Year’s Day public holiday

February 2022

Make the most of Waitangi Day by taking an extra day off beforehand.

  • Friday 4 February: Annual leave
  • Saturday 5 February: Weekend
  • Sunday 6 February: Waitangi Day (weekend)
  • Monday 7 February: Waitangi Day public holiday

Easter/Anzac Day

If you’re keen for a 17-day holiday from April 15–May 1, you can take eight days of annual leave from April 19–29.

  • Friday 15 April: Good Friday public holiday
  • Saturday 16 April: Weekend
  • Sunday 17 April: Weekend
  • Monday 18 April: Easter Monday public holiday
  • Tuesday 19 April: Annual leave (Southland gets this day off for their Anniversary Day)
  • Wednesday 20 April: Annual leave
  • Thursday 21 April: Annual leave
  • Friday 22 April: Annual leave
  • Saturday 23 April: Weekend
  • Sunday 24 April: Weekend
  • Monday 25 April: ANZAC Day public holiday
  • Tuesday 26 April: Annual leave
  • Wednesday 27 April: Annual leave
  • Thursday 28 April: Annual leave
  • Friday 29 April: Annual leave
  • Saturday 30 April: Weekend
  • Sunday 1 May: Weekend

Queen’s Birthday four-day weekend

The Queen’s Birthday holiday falls on Monday 6 June, so why not take the Friday off and enjoy a long weekend?

  • Friday 3 June: Annual leave
  • Saturday 4 June: Weekend
  • Sunday 5 June: Weekend
  • Monday 6 June: Queen’s Birthday public holiday


For the first time this year, New Zealand will celebrate the Matariki public holiday on June 24. Why not celebrate by taking the following Monday off for a 4-day break.

  • Friday 24 June: Matariki public holiday
  • Saturday 25 June: Weekend
  • Sunday 26 June: Weekend
  • Monday 27 June: Annual leave

Labour Day 

Labour Day lands on October 21 in 2022 and provides for a nice break little between June and December. Espeically if you take the Friday off beforehand. 

  • Friday 21 October: Annual leave (Hawke’s Bay gets this day off as their Anniversary Day)
  • Saturday 22 October: Weekend
  • Sunday 23 October: Weekend
  • Monday 24 October: Labour Day public holiday

Christmas and January 2023

If you want to get really organised for 2022, book in three days of annual leave from Dec 28–30. That means you’ll be in line for a 11-day break from Dec 24–January 3.

  • Saturday 24 December: Weekend
  • Sunday 25 December: Christmas day (weekend)
  • Monday 26 December: Boxing Day public holiday
  • Tuesday 27 December: Christmas Day public holiday
  • Wednesday 28 December: Annual leave
  • Thursday 29 December: Annual leave
  • Friday 30 December: Annual leave
  • Saturday 31 December, 2023: Weekend
  • Sunday 1 January: New Year’s Day (weekend)
  • Monday 2 January: Day After New Year’s Day public holiday
  • Tuesday 3 January: New Year’s Day public holiday

And this potentially still leaves 5 days of annual leave to use as you wish. You could use them to take time off for your birthday, or join them together for a long weekend of your choosing. 

Annual leave gives you an opportunity to unplug from work and have a break long enough to return to work refreshed. It can also give you the time and space to think about new directions for your career or new ways of doing things. By looking at all the public holidays coming up in the next year, you can build an annual leave plan that maximises your chance to recharge your batteries.

Some parts of New Zealand have regional public holidays, so to find out more about public holiday dates, go to Employment New Zealand.

Source: Independent research conducted by Nature of behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4000 Kiwis annually. Published December 2020.