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Easter Public Holidays - What entitlements apply?

As we rapidly approach the 2021 Easter holiday period, it is timely to provide a reminder of what entitlements may apply to employees for the public holidays that fall during this time.

In most cases, if an employee is absent from work on a day (or part day) that is a declared public holiday, an employer must generally pay the employee (other than a casual employee) their base rate of pay for their ordinary hours of work on that day or part-day.

Unless otherwise provided under an applicable award or agreement, an employee will not be entitled to payment if they do not have ordinary hours of work on the public holiday. For example, a part-time employee will not be entitled to payment if their part-time hours do not include the day of the week on which the public holiday falls.

However, as entitlements can, and do, vary between industrial instruments, it is essential that as an employer, you check the specific public holiday provisions that do apply under your applicable award/s or enterprise agreement.

Can Employees Be Asked to Work on a Declared Public Holiday?

Provided that the employers request is reasonable, an employee can be asked to work on a public holiday. The employee may refuse the request if the refusal is reasonable, or if the employers request is unreasonable.

 

In determining whether a request (or a refusal of such a request) to work on a public holiday is reasonable, the following factors must be taken into account:

  • the nature of the employer’s workplace (including its operational requirements) and the nature of the work performed by the employee
  • the employee’s personal circumstances, including family responsibilities
  • whether the employee could reasonably expect that the employer might request work on the public holiday
  • whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime payments, penalty rates, additional remuneration or other compensation that reflects an expectation of work on the public holiday
  • the type of employment (e.g. full-time, part-time, casual or shiftwork)
  • the amount of notice in advance of the public holiday given by the employer when making the request
  • the amount of notice in advance of the public holiday given by the employee in refusing the request
  • any other relevant matter.

Payment for Work Performed on a Public Holiday

If employees are required to perform work on a public holiday, they may be entitled to public holiday penalty rates.

The modern award/s or enterprise agreements that applies to an employee will set out what entitlements will apply should the employee perform work on a declared public holiday.

In addition to potential public holiday penalty rates, an applicable award, enterprise agreement and other registered agreement may provide further entitlements for staff working on a public holiday, such as:

  • an extra day off or extra annual leave
  • minimum shift lengths on public holidays
  • agreeing to substitute a public holiday for another day.

What to Pay over the Easter Weekend?

Each State and Territory can have different regulations that will apply in regard to public holidays which fall on a weekend.

In some jurisdictions, a public holiday will be scheduled on the following Monday, in lieu of, or in addition to, the public holiday that fell on the previous Saturday or a Sunday.

A list of the declared public holidays across Australia are provided below for your reference:

Australian Capital Territory

Friday 2 April - Good Friday

Saturday 3 April - Easter Saturday

Sunday 4 April - Easter Sunday

Monday 5 April - Easter Monday

New South Wales

Friday 2 April - Good Friday

Saturday 3 April - Easter Saturday

Sunday 4 April - Easter Sunday

Monday 5 April - Easter Monday

Northern Territory

Friday 2 April - Good Friday

Saturday 3 April - Easter Saturday

Monday 5 April - Easter Monday

Queensland

Friday 2 April - Good Friday

Saturday 3 April - Day after Good Friday

Sunday 4 April - Easter Sunday

Monday 5 April - Easter Monday

South Australia

Friday 2 April - Good Friday

Saturday 3 April - Easter Saturday

Monday 5 April - Easter Monday

Tasmania

Friday 2 April - Good Friday

Monday 5 April - Easter Monday

Tuesday 6 April - Easter Tuesday - generally Public Service only

Victoria

Friday 2 April - Good Friday

Saturday 3 April - Saturday before Easter Sunday

Sunday 4 April - Easter Sunday

Monday 5 April - Easter Monday

Western Australia

Friday 2 April - Good Friday

Monday 5 April - Easter Monday

Should you have any questions regarding public holiday entitlements or penalty rates, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Advisory team. 

If you require assistance with managing such matters, or if you require HR Advice, please contact the team at HR Advice Online on 1300 720 004.

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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