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Public Holiday Entitlements & Employee Leave


What is the entitlement to public holidays when an employee is on leave?

 While an employee has an entitlement for payment when a public holiday falls on a day that would otherwise be part of their ordinary rostered hours of work, to what extent does this entitlement continue when an employee is absent from work due to taking another form of leave?

Personal Leave or Annual leave:

 The National Employment Standards provide that where the period during which an employee is absent on paid personal/carer’s leave or paid annual leave includes a day (or part day) that is a public holiday, the employee will be taken to be on the public holiday for that day (or part day) and not on paid annual leave or paid personal/carer’s leave.

In such instances, the day which is the public holiday should be regarded by, and paid by, the employer as being a public holiday, rather than being paid as personal/carer’s leave or annual leave.

For example, if a full-time employee in Victoria was absent on annual leave during the entire week of the Melbourne Cup public holiday, they would be entitled to payment for four days' paid annual leave and one day’s paid public holiday. 

Long service leave

The extent to which a public holiday will extend an employee’s period of long service leave will depend on the applicable Commonwealth, State or Territory Long Service Leave legislation that the employee is covered by.

For example, in Victoria the Long Service Leave Act 1992 provides that a period of long service leave will be exclusive of public holidays. As such, the total period of long service leave taken will be extended by one day for each public holiday that falls during the period of leave.

Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts is meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains only general information about human resources matters and due to factors such as government legislation changes, may not be up-to-date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such.

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