It’s almost Easter, are you ready?
Depending on which state your workers are in, there will be anywhere between 3 and 5 public holidays this month.
All employees are entitled to a day off on a public holiday. Full and part time employees are to be paid for the full day at their base rate, while casuals may have the day off but it will be unpaid. Employers are entitled to ask employees to work on a public holiday, but only if their request is reasonable. And similarly, employees can refuse to work on a public holiday if their request is reasonable.
Depending on the award or agreement, there are several ways that payment for a public holiday may be handled. They include:
- A day off paid at the employee’s base rate (full and part time employees only)
- A different paid day off
- An extra day added to the employee’s annual leave balance
- Penalty rates for hours worked on the public holiday
Awards may also include further clauses such as a higher penalty rate for working on December 25th than on other public holidays, or a minimum number of hours at penalty rate if the employee works a part day. It is also worth checking the award or agreement to see whether it addresses the start time of the employee, as some awards will say for e.g. that a shift starting at 11pm on the public holiday doesn’t have to be paid at penalty rates, but a shift starting at 11pm the night before the public holiday will be paid at penalty rates.
If an employee is on annual or personal (aka sick or carers) leave on a public holiday, no leave hours are to be deducted from their accrual balance for that day. Instead, they should be paid their base rate for the day.
All of the information needed regarding how to handle payment for a public holiday will found in your award or agreement. To go along with that, you will find the full list of upcoming public holidays for all states on the Fair Work website at https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/public-holidays.