Working on public holidays
Employees get paid at least their base pay rate for all hours worked on a public holiday.
Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements can provide entitlements for working public holidays, including:
- extra pay (eg. 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.
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, (eg. family responsibilities)
- whether the employee will get more pay (eg. 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.
When requesting that an employee work on a public holiday, employers need to consider all relevant circumstances, including the ones listed above.