As we near the end of the year, it is important to be aware of the upcoming public holidays and how they may impact your business and employees

The following days have been declared Public Holidays for this year’s Christmas/New Year period:


Entitlement to be absent
The National Employment Standards provide all employees with the right to not work on a public holiday. While an employer can request that an employee work on a declared public holiday if the request is reasonable, the employee may refuse to work if they have reasonable grounds.

Payment for absence
Employees (except casual employees) who normally work on a day that a public holiday falls will be paid for the ordinary hours they would have worked on that day at the base rate of pay (ie. excludes incentive-based payments and bonuses, loadings, monetary allowances, overtime or penalty rates, or any other separately identifiable amounts).
Employees generally don’t get paid for a public holiday if they do not normally work on the day that the public holiday falls. For example, if a part-time employee only works Monday to Thursday each week but the public holiday falls on a Friday, the employee does not get paid for the public holiday because they do not normally work the Friday. Note, a roster can’t be changed to deliberately avoid public holiday pay.

Payment for working on a public holiday
Generally, employees will be paid public holiday rates for time worked on a public holiday. The applicable public holiday rates will depend on the workplace instrument that covers the employee.

Substitute day
An employer and an employee can agree to substitute a public holiday (or part-day public holiday) for another day. If a public holiday is substituted, then the substitute day is regarded as the public holiday and penalty rates are only paid on the substitute day.

Rostered day off
If employers have a rostered day off (RDO) system in place with any of their employees, they should refer to the applicable award for specific information. Some awards may provide for an alternative paid day off where an RDO falls on a public holiday.

The information provided in this publication is necessarily general. Different arrangements for their public holidays may apply depending on the applicable workplace instrument. Before this holiday season, it is important to check what conditions and penalty rates apply to your employees.

AAAA Member Benefits
Employer Assist provides all AAAA members with advice regarding all aspects of your workplace and employment law.
We can assist you in understanding your employment obligations in relation to public holidays and applicable penalty rates.

Please contact Employer Assist on 1300 735 306 or if you require any assistance.