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Managing Public Holidays

public holidays

Public Holidays – which employees are paid for them and how does this impact on paid leave?

With the Australia Day public holiday falling on a Thursday this year, there is anticipation that as many as 200,000 workers will take the day after off to have a long four-day weekend.

This number, according to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief James Pearson, is based on previous year’s figures and could cost Australian businesses $62 million over a single day.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive James Pearson said workers should "do the right thing" and take annual leave if they want Friday off. "Misusing sick leave erodes trust in the workplace, puts extra strain on colleagues doing the right thing and leaves people short of sick leave when they genuinely need it," he said.

Below we look at the impact of public holidays in respect of who gets paid and how other forms of paid leave apply during public holidays as well as what you can you do if an employee takes Friday as a personal day.


When a public holiday falls on a day that an employee would ordinarily work, but the employee is absent from the workplace due to them taking another form of paid leave, the entitlement to the public holiday may still apply.

A public holiday will generally extend a period of paid annual leave or personal leave being taken by one day; and may effect a period of long service leave depending on the relevant state or territory long service leave legislation.
The impact of public holidays on other forms of paid leave is outlined below:


Annual Leave
Where a period of paid annual leave includes a day (or part day) that is a declared public holiday, the employee is entitled to the public holiday and will not be considered to be on annual leave for that day.

In such instances, one day for each of the public holidays that occurred during the period of annual leave will need to be re-credited to the employee’s annual leave balance.

Personal Leave – Paid Sick / Carer’s Leave
Where a period during which an employee takes paid personal leave includes a day (or part day) that is a declared public holiday, the employee will not be considered to be on paid personal leave on that public holiday. The employee’s personal leave balance is to be re-credited for each public holiday that falls during a period of paid personal leave.

When can an employee take personal leave?
Your employee can take personal/carer's leave if he/she or an immediate family or household member is sick, injured or has an unexpected emergency. An employee's immediate family member includes spouse or de facto partner and their child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling.

What notice does the employee need to provide?
An employee has to let their employee know that they are going to take a sick or carer’s leave. This has to be done as soon as possible, and can be after the leave has started. They should also specify how long they will be off or expect to be off work.

Types of evidence for sick/carer’s leave
Medical certificates or statutory declarations are examples of acceptable forms of evidence. While there are no strict rules on what type of evidence needs to be given, the evidence has to convince a reasonable person that the employee was genuinely entitled to the sick or carer’s leave.

Does the employee need to provide a Medical Certificate?
1. Employers can ask an employee to provide evidence to confirm why they have been away from work at any time, including where an employee has only been off sick for 1 day.
2. An employee who doesn’t provide their employer with this evidence when asked may not to be entitled to be paid for their sick or carer’s leave.
3. A workplace policy or registered agreement can specify when an employee has to give evidence to their employer and what type of evidence they have to give.

Long Service Leave
The extent to which a period of long service leave will be extended by a public holiday that falls during the period of leave will depend on the applicable state or territory long service leave law.

• Australian Capital Territory – the period of long service leave IS extended by one day for each public holiday that occurs during the leave.

• New South Wales – the period of long service leave IS extended by one day for each public holiday that occurs during the leave.

• Northern Territory – the period of long service leave is NOT extended by the occurrence of a public holiday during the leave period.

• Queensland – the period of long service leave IS extended by one day for each public holiday that occurs during the leave.

• South Australia – the period of long service leave is NOT extended by the occurrence of a public holiday during the leave.

• Tasmania – the period of long service leave is NOT extended by any public holiday occurring during the leave.

• Victoria – the period of long service leave IS extended by one day for each public holiday that occurs during the leave.

  • Western Australia – the period of long service leave is extended by one day for each public holiday that occurs during the 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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