Working on public holidays

Employees get paid at least their base pay rate for all hours worked on public holidays.

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.

Vehicle Award

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award 2010 [MA000089].

An employee has to be paid public holiday rates for all time worked on a public holiday.

The exceptions are when an employee in the vehicle manufacturing sector starts work:

  • at 10.45pm or between 10.45pm and midnight on a public holiday - they don't get paid public holiday rates for that shift
  • before midnight (eg. starts at 11pm) on the day before a public holiday - they get paid public holiday rates for the hours worked on the day before the public holiday.

When an employee in the vehicle manufacturing sector ends a shift on a public holiday and starts another shift on the same public holiday, they only get paid public holiday rates for the shift that has the major portion on the public holiday.

To calculate public holiday pay rates, use our Pay Calculator.

Minimum hours on public holidays

Regardless of how long they actually work, when an employee (other than a shiftworker) works on a public holiday they have to be paid for a minimum of:

  • 1 hour plus the time spent travelling to and from work at public holiday rates for employees who:
    • are maintenance employees in the vehicle manufacturing sector and
    • maintaining the continuity of electric light or power
  • ​4 hours at public holiday rates for all other maintenance employees in the vehicle manufacturing sector
  • 4 hours for drafting, planning and technical employees.

Check the Vehicle Award for the minimum daily hours when working overtime on a public holiday.

For the minimum daily hours for other employees in this award, go to Hours of work.

Substituting public holidays

An employer and an employee or a majority of employees can agree to substitute a public holiday for another day.

If a public holiday is substituted, then the substitute day is regarded as the public holiday and penalty rates are only paid on the substitute day.

Check the Vehicle Award for other entitlements that can apply when working a public holiday.

To find out more about who this award applies to, go to the Vehicle Award summary.

Source reference: Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award 2010 [MA000089] clause 32 and 42.2 external-icon.png

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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 s.114 -116 external-icon.png

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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