What employees get

If they don’t work on a public holiday and:

The public holiday falls on a day the employee normally works:

Full time and part time employees are entitled to be paid at their base rate of pay for the ordinary hours that they would have otherwise worked.

The base rate of pay doesn’t include any incentive-based payments, bonuses, loadings, monetary allowances, overtime or penalty rates.

The public holiday does not fall on a day the employee normally works:

The employee is not entitled to payment if the public holiday falls on a day they do not normally work.

Example

Jason is a full-time forklift driver for Home Depot, employed for 7.6 hours per day Monday to Friday. Jason receives an hourly wage of $20.00.

The business is closed for the Monday Anzac Day holiday. Even though Jason is not working on Anzac Day, the employer is required to pay Jason’s base rate of pay of $20.00 per hour for whatever his ordinary hours of work would’ve been, should Jason have worked that day.

The employer must pay Jason $20.00 x 7.6 hours of work =$152.00

If they do work on a public holiday

Employees are entitled to be paid a minimum of their base rate of pay for all hours worked on a public holiday.

However, under many awards and agreements, an employee who works on a public holiday may:

  • receive a penalty rate or loading for the hours they work 
  • be provided with time off instead of payment of penalty rates 
  • receive equivalent time added to their annual leave.

An employee's roster can't be changed to avoid the payment for a public holiday if the employee doesn't work.

Note: Under most modern awards, public holiday penalty rates are phased in. This means that minimum obligations of employers will depend on their obligations prior to 1 January 2010.

For further information about phasing, wages and penalty rates, you can use the tools available at Finding the right pay or contact the Fair Work Infoline.

Full time and part time employees are entitled to payment regardless of whether the business closes on the public holiday or if the employee chooses to take the day off.

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Page last updated: 17 Sep 2010