The end of 2018 is near, and it is important that you understand what your obligations are to employees in relation to the public holidays that fall during the Christmas and New Year period.
Check out our latest blog for some key reminder about employee entitlements during the festive season…
1. Work Performed on a Public Holiday
As an employer, you can ask your employees to work on a public holiday, provided that the request is reasonable.What makes such a request reasonable will depend on a number of factors, including (but not limited to):
- the nature of the workplace and the work performed
- the employee’s personal circumstances, including family responsibilities
- whether the employee could reasonably expect the employer might request work on the public holiday
- whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime or other penalty payments or other compensation that reflects the expectation to work on public holidays
- the amount of notice given by the employer when making a request
While most employees will be entitled to receive penalty rates for working on a public holiday, some awards and agreements may also allow employees to:
- substitute the public holiday for a different day
- have a day added to their annual leave balance, or
- take time off in lieu.
The applicable award or registered agreement will detail what entitlements an employee is to receive should they be required to perform work on a declared public holiday.
2. Public holidays are not counted as annual leave or sick leave
If an employee has taken annual leave over Christmas and New Year, the public holidays are not to be deducted from the employee’s annual leave entitlement.
The same also applies if an employee is sick before, on, or after a public holiday. Where an employee takes personal leave on either side of the public holiday, they are still entitled to be paid for the public holiday (provided that it falls on a day they would normally work).
3. Gazetted Public holidays may differ depending on your location
Although a number of public holidays fall over the Christmas and New Year period, it is important to remember that the actual days which are declared public holidays can differ depending on the State or Territory in which you operate.
Check the ‘Public holidays List’ available from the resources section of our website to see which days are gazetted public holidays in your State or Territory.
4. Public Holiday Entitlements
Full-time and part-time employees, who would ordinarily work on the day on which a public holiday falls, are entitled to a paid day off. Unless otherwise specified in an employment agreement or Award, this day is to be paid at the employee’s base pay rate for the ordinary hours they would have worked.
Casual employees do not receive payment for public holidays, unless they are required to perform work on the actual day.
It is important to note that an award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement can set out other obligations regarding public holidays.