Public Holidays – Rosters, Wages and Employers’ Obligations

It is hard to believe how quickly the year has gone so far. We are already past the first quarter and April is sure to fly by with Easter and Anzac day.

Given the fact that the second quarter of the year has the most number of public holidays than any other, we thought no better time than now to give a quick overview of employers’ obligations in regards to public holidays.

Love them or dislike them, public holidays are a fact of life. In order to reduce any stress or burden on a business caused by public holidays employers must plan ahead and incorporate them into to their operating budget.

April 2014 has a four public holidays in total, which all fall within the space of one week, being:

  • Good Friday – 18 April 2014.
  • Easter Saturday – 19 April 2014.
  • Easter Monday – 21 April 2014.
  • Anzac day – 25 April 2014.

Employers' obligations in regards to public holidays:

  1.  In accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 Cth, all full time employees are entitled to a paid day off work if the public holiday occurs during their ordinary working week.  
  2. In respect of part time workers, if a public holiday occurs on one of the days in the week that they regularly work, they will be entitled to a paid day off work. 
  3. If a casual employee is not rostered on to work on a public holiday, they are not entitled to a payment for that day. Furthermore, a casual employee will only be entitled to penalty rates for working on a public holiday if such a rates are either prescribed by the employee’s relevant modern award or previously agreed to in the employee’s contract of employment. 
  4. If your organisation is under the pump, we do not consider it unreasonable to ask a full time employee to work on a public holiday. However, the employee has every right to refuse that request if they have reasonable grounds for doing so such as prior holiday plans or family commitments. This one really comes down to the employer’s relationship with the employee and whether or not it is critical for that work to be completed on the public holiday or not. In such a situation, the employer could ask the employee to work the public holiday and provide the employee with a day off in lieu at a later date in order to meet the work deadline but also be fair to the employee.

If you have any questions regarding public holidays or any other HR matter, do not hesitate to give Sync or Swim a call. 

Article by: Paul Bright, Business Development and Compliance Specialist.