Public Holidays FAQs

Public Holidays FAQs

Q: What if my employee is working in another State on the day a public holiday falls in the State they are employed?
A: Your employee will be entitled to the public holiday applicable in the State in which they are employed.

Q: Can an employee refuse to work on a public holiday?
A: While an employee does not have to work on a public holiday, an employer may put in a reasonable request that they do so.

However, the employee may refuse on reasonable grounds, these include:
– whether the work really needs to be performed on the public holiday;
– the nature and needs of your business;
– the employee’s personal circumstances, e.g. family responsibilities;
– whether the employee works full time, part time, casually or in shifts;
– whether the employee is entitled to additional benefits, e.g. extra pay;
– how much notice you have given of the request to work; and
– the amount of notice the employee has given of any refusal to work.

Q: What happens if a public holiday falls on a weekend?
A: You will need to look at what your state legislation says but a State and Territory legislation sometimes provides that, if a  public holiday falls on a weekend, an additional public holiday will be granted. Recently,  Anzac Day fell on a Sunday and Victoria was granted a public holiday on the Monday. But it does not happen automatically.

Q: What should I pay my employees on public holidays?
A: Under the Fair Work Act, you must pay any employee who is entitled to be absent from work on a public holiday at their base rate of pay for their ordinary hours of work for the holiday

If a  casual is not rostered to work  – this does not apply.
When you look at your award or agreement  – it may also provide benefits, such as:
– extra pay;
-extra day off;
-extra annual leave;
– another day off as a substitute for the public holiday
It often talks about a minimum period to pay someone for work on a public holiday.

Michael O'Shaughnessy

Michael is a specialist in all things HR. With vast HR experience in the USA and Australia, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and advice to HR Central. When he's not blogging for HR Central you can find him out for dinner in one of Melbourne's newest restaurants.

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