Working on public holidays
The Fair Work Commission
has varied certain Sunday, public holidays, evening or after midnight penalty rates in some awards for the hospitality, restaurant, fast food and retail industries.
The changes don't apply yet. The starting date for these changes will depend on the award that applies and what the change is.
Find out more about what they are, who they affect and when they start in Changes to penalty rates in some awards.
Employees get paid at least their base pay rate for all hours worked on a public holiday.
Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements can provide entitlements for working public holidays, including:
- extra pay (eg. public holiday rates)
- an extra day off or extra annual leave
- minimum shift lengths on public holidays
- agreeing to substitute a public holiday for another day.
Find information about working on public holidays in your award by selecting from the list below.
- Building, construction and on-site trades
- Contract cleaning services
- Hair and beauty
- Health support services
- Real estate
- Road Transport
- Social, community, disability and home care services
- Storage services and wholesale
- Don't know
Requesting and refusing to work on public holidays
Employees don't have to work on a public holiday.
However, an employer can ask an employee to work on a public holiday, if the request is reasonable. An employee may refuse a request to work if they have reasonable grounds.
The following need to be taken into account when deciding if a request is reasonable:
- the employee's personal circumstances, (eg. family responsibilities)
- whether the employee will get more pay (eg. penalty rates)
- the needs of the workplace
- the type of work the employee does
- whether the employee's salary includes work on a public holiday
- whether the employee is full-time, part-time, casual or a shiftworker
- how much notice the employee was given about working
- the amount of notice the employee gives that they refuse to work.
When requesting that an employee work on a public holiday, employers need to consider all relevant circumstances, including the ones listed above.
Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) sections 114 -116
Think a mistake might have been made?
Mistakes can happen. The best way to fix them usually starts with talking.
Check out our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:
- figuring out if a mistake has been made
- talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
- getting help from us if you can't resolve it.
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