Subsidised school holiday programmes are a godsend for cash-strapped parents who cannot afford time off work, a Hawke's Bay youth worker says.
This week, thousands of parents will try to juggle their work responsibilities with tending children during the school holidays.
Sarah Gray of YMCA Hawke's Bay said more than 300 children had been enrolled in the organisation's school holiday programmes, which received funding from Work and Income.
"Our programme is $33 a day [and] of that Winz pays $31.28.
"So families get to come on our programme for $1.72 per day and that's really affordable," she said.
Children aged between 5 and 15 participated in a variety of activities on the programmes, such as swimming, farm visits and arts and crafts.
School students get about 12 weeks' holiday each year, whereas most workers are only entitled to four weeks' annual leave. Business NZ says the best way to manage time off during holidays is to make sure leave requests are filed as early as possible. "School holidays are set out at the beginning of the year," chief executive Phil O'Reilly said.
Employees had to communicate with each other and their managers about leave, he said.
"It's give and take.
"Obviously, there's always a lot of people who want time off around school holidays," Mr O'Reilly said.
"For example, if you've got a group of employees, and three of them have kids, one might say, 'I want to take the May school holidays away' and the other one might say, 'Okay, I'll take the August ones'."
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, which represents more than 40,000 New Zealand workers, recommends a ballot system be used if too many leave requests are put in at the same time.
"If a number of people are seeking it [leave], then you go into a ballot," spokesman Mark James said.
About one month ago, a member's case was referred to the union after the man's Christmas leave request was denied, Mr James said.
"The boss said he couldn't allow him that time off because he'd be the only suitable person on site to operate the forklift.
"We said, 'This far out - why aren't you training someone else ... so then this worker can have the time off'." The employer agreed to grant leave and train someone else for the role, Mr James said. NZPA