Back to work this week? It might seem cheeky when you’ve only just disabled your out-of-office settings, but it’s not too soon to start thinking about your leave plans for the year.

If you work a standard Monday to Friday, by using your annual leave strategically, you can extend the public holidays to give yourself more time off.

This is particularly crucial in 2024, when there are a few midweek public holidays that could trip you up. There’s nothing worse than thinking you have a long weekend coming up, only to realise you’re expected back at work the next day.

So, here are the key dates to plan around – get these requests in before your colleagues do.

Waitangi Day: February 3 to 6

This year Waitangi Day falls on a Tuesday – so if you don’t want to work a weird Monday sandwiched between days off, you’ll need to use up a day of leave. It will be worth it for the four-day weekend.

AL used: 1 day

Out of office: 4 days

Easter: March 29 to April 7

We’ve got an early Easter this year, with Good Friday on March 29 and Easter Monday on April 1. Why not stay in holiday mode by taking the rest of the week off, giving you a whopping 10 days out of office? Parents, take note – Easter Tuesday is a school holiday.

AL used: 4 days

Out of office: 10 days

If you’re in Otago… your anniversary day will be observed on Monday, March 25, so if you book the three following days off, you’ll save a day of leave and still end up with 10 days out of office.

If you’re in Southland… your anniversary day will be observed on Tuesday, April 2, so you can save a day of leave and still get the 10 days out of office.

Anzac Day: April 25 to 28

Anzac Day is another midweek public holiday, with April 25 falling on a Thursday this year. You know what to do – book the Friday off for a four-day weekend. You’ll also catch the end of the school holidays, which begin on April 13.

AL used: 1 day

Out of office: 4 days

King’s Birthday: May 31 to June 3

The first of two public holidays this month, King’s Birthday will be marked on Monday, June 3. Go on, take the Friday off, too.

AL used: 1 day

Out of office: 4 days

Matariki: June 28 to July 1

Bookending the month is Matariki on Friday, June 28 – which again, you could make an even longer weekend by booking the Monday as leave.

AL used: 1 day

Out of office: 4 days

Labour Day: October 25 to 28

Well done for making it through the winter months. Celebrate with another extra-long weekend, taking the Friday (October 25) as leave before enjoying Labour Day off on the Monday.

AL used: 1 day

Out of office: 4 days

If you’re in Hawke’s Bay… your anniversary day will be observed on Friday, October 25, so you already get the four-day weekend, no extra leave needed.

If you’re in Marlborough… your anniversary day will be observed on Monday, November 4, so instead of taking the Friday off, consider taking the four days in between Labour Day and Marlborough Anniversary Day for a 10-day stretch out of office.

Christmas and New Year: Dec 21 to Jan 5

The Christmas and New Year holidays all fall in the middle of the week this year, so you’ll probably want to take the limbo days around them as leave. The good news is by doing so you’ll get two full weeks out of office, so you can return to work relaxed and refreshed for 2025.

AL used: 6 days

Out of office: 16 days