18 Apr Public Holiday Entitlements this Easter
Easter is full of chocolate eggs, hot cross buns and public holidays! Whether you are closing shop for Easter or preparing for a busy long weekend of trading, here are a few reminders about public holidays this holiday season.
Entitlement to Public Holidays
The National Employment Standards (“NES”) provide an entitlement for employees to be absent from work on a public holiday, without loss of pay. Generally, a full-time or part-time employee is entitled to a day off work and will receive at least their base rate of pay for the hours they would have ordinarily worked. Casual employees do not receive payment for public holidays, unless they actually work on the day.
Working on a public holiday
Employees may be entitled to penalty rates for working on a public holiday. Please refer to the Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement applicable to the employee’s employment to determine the rate at which they should be paid.
Some Modern Awards, Enterprise Agreements and other registered agreements may also entitle an employee to:
- A day off in lieu for working a public holiday.
- An additional annual leave day.
- Minimum shift lengths on the public holidays.
- Substitute a public holiday for another day off.
What if an employee is on paid leave?
Public holidays are in addition to an employee’s annual leave or personal leave. If an employee is on paid leave on the day a public holiday falls, the day will be treated as a public holiday. It will not be treated as a paid leave day.
Accordingly, the day should not be taken off an employee’s annual or personal leave balance and the employee should be paid their base rate of pay for the day.
Requesting an employee to work on a public holiday
An employer can request that an employee work on a public holiday, if the request is reasonable. The NES also protects an employee’s workplace right to reasonably refuse to work on a public holiday.
In determining whether refusal of such a request (or a request itself) to work on a public holiday is reasonable, the following must be taken into account:
- the employee’s personal circumstances;
- whether the employee could reasonably expect the employer might request for them to work on the public holiday;
- the needs of the workplace and the nature of the work performed by the employee;
- the type of employment (for example, full-time, part-time or casual);
- whether the employee’s salary includes work on a public holiday;
- the amount of notice given by the employer in advance of the public holiday when making the request;
- the amount of notice given by the employee in advance of the public holiday refusing the request; and
- any other relevant matter.
Public Holiday Dates in April
Please be aware of these upcoming public holiday dates in April in Queensland.
- Friday 19 April – Good Friday
- Saturday 20 April – Easter Saturday
- Sunday 21 April – Easter Sunday
- Monday 22 April – Easter Monday
- Thursday 25 April – ANZAC Day
Please note that public holidays can be different depending on the state or territory you work in.
Tasmania also has a public holiday on Tuesday 23 April – Easter Tuesday. This public holiday only applies under certain awards or registered agreements and to the public state service.
If you are unsure of your obligations as an employer or would like assistance with managing employee entitlements on public holidays, please contact HR Law
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.