The Prime Minister has declared that Thursday 22 September 2022 will be a public holiday for a National Day of Mourning for Her Majesty the Queen.
Once the public holiday for the National Day of Mourning for Her Majesty the Queen is confirmed in each state or territory, normal public holiday rules and entitlements apply.
Not working on public holidays
Employees have a right to be away from work on a public holiday.
Employees (except casual employees) who normally work on the day a public holiday falls will be paid their base pay rate for the ordinary hours they would have worked if they had not been away because of the public holiday.
The base pay rate doesn’t include:
- any incentive-based payments
- monetary allowances
- overtime or
- penalty rates.
An employee’s roster can’t be changed to deliberately avoid this payment.
Public holiday penalty rates
Employees get paid at least their base pay rate for all hours worked on public holidays.
Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements can provide entitlements for working public holidays, including:
- extra pay (for example public holiday rates)
- an extra day off or extra annual leave
- minimum shift lengths on public holidays
- agreeing to substitute a public holiday for another day.
All employees have a right to be absent from work on a day or part day that is a public holiday.
An award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement can set out other rules and entitlements when not working on a public holiday.
Public holidays during leave
If a public holiday falls when an employee is on leave, their entitlement to the public holiday depends on whether they are taking paid leave or unpaid leave.
Paid leave and public holidays
If a public holiday falls during a period of paid leave (for example, annual leave or sick leave), the employee has to be paid for the public holiday. This includes any hours that fall on a part-day public holiday.
However, if the employee is taking annual leave at the same time as unpaid parental leave, they won’t be paid for the public holiday.
The public holiday will not be counted as annual leave or sick leave. This means that the public holiday hours will not be taken away from the employee’s amount of built-up paid leave.
If an employee takes sick leave either side of a public holiday, they should still be paid for the public holiday if it is on a day that they would normally work. Normal sick leave rules apply for the time taken as sick leave and an employer can ask the employee for evidence that shows the reason they took the leave.
If an employee is rostered to work on a public holiday on a day they don’t normally work, and calls in sick, they don’t get paid for that day.
If an employee is taking long service leave on a public holiday, whether an employee gets paid for the public holiday is set out in the state or territory long service leave legislation.
Unpaid leave and public holidays
An employee isn’t paid for any public holiday that falls during a time when the employee is on unpaid leave.
Requesting and refusing to work on public holidays
Employees don’t have to work on a public holiday.
However, an employer can ask an employee to work on a public holiday, if the request is reasonable. An employee may refuse a request to work if they have reasonable grounds.
The following need to be taken into account when deciding if a request is reasonable:
- the employee’s personal circumstances, (for example family responsibilities)
- whether the employee will get more pay (for example penalty rates)
- the needs of the workplace
- the type of work the employee does
- whether the employee’s salary includes work on a public holiday
- whether the employee is full-time, part-time, casual or a shiftworker
- how much notice the employee was given about working
- the amount of notice the employee gives that they refuse to work.