As an employee or employer, you need to know your entitlements and obligations for public holidays during the festive season. The following days are public holidays under the National Employment Standards:
- Wednesday 25 December (Christmas Day)
- Thursday 26 December (Boxing Day)
- Wednesday 1 January (New Year’s Day).
Note: in South Australia part-day public holidays have been declared from 7pm - midnight on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
What do employees get on public holidays?
Casual employees aren’t entitled to be paid for a day off for a public holiday. Part-time and full-time employees who get the public holiday off are generally entitled to be paid their base rate of pay for the hours they would have ordinarily worked. For more information go to What employees get to make sure you understand your rights and obligations.
What’s the rate of pay for working on a public holiday?
Some employees are entitled to be paid a higher rate (penalty rates) when they work on a public holiday. Whether or not an employee is entitled to penalty rates depends on a number of things, including the industry and the job. Visit Finding the right pay for tools to help you calculate minimum wages and penalty rates.
Shop trading hours
It’s quite common for there to be restrictions on trading on some public holidays, such as Good Friday or Christmas. This is regulated by each state - see Shop trading hours on public holidays to find out where you can get more information
What are the public holidays in my state/territory?
Public holidays can be different depending on the state or territory you’re in. See our List of 2013 public holidays for the main public holidays in your state or territory.
States and territories can declare their own extra public holidays. For example:
- in South Australia, part-day public holidays have been declared from 7pm - midnight on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve
- regional public holidays that apply only in a specific area (eg. Borroloola Show Day in the Northern Territory)
- state public holidays for Labour Day
- other state and territory public holidays such as Melbourne Cup Day in Victoria.
For more information about public holidays in your state or territory, see our List of 2013 public holidays or call the relevant state or territory department below.
Have a public holiday question?
Try our Public Holidays FAQs for answers to common public holiday questions.