Public holidays in Australia vary greatly across the States and Territories. June & July are a great example of this. All but QLD & WA celebrate the Queen’s Birthday on the 12th June (WA instead choosing 25th September to hold the party, with QLD opting to roll out the banners and birthday cake on 2nd October). Furthermore, WA has their own dedicated day of festivities, ‘Western Australia Day’, on the 5th June. As if this didn’t make it complicated enough for multi-State company’s Payroll Departments, throughout June & July the Northern Territory hold 5 different Show Day’s across the Territory!
See below for a rundown of the upcoming Public Holidays (sorry QLD, but you don’t get one this time…)
|Monday 5 June||Western Australia Day|
|Monday 12 June||Queen’s Birthday (All except QLD & WA)|
|Friday 30 June||Borroloola Show Day|
|Friday 7 July||Alice Springs Show Day|
|Friday 14 July||Tennant Creek Show Day|
|Friday 21 July||Katherine Show Day|
|Friday 28 July||Darwin Show Day|
All employees are entitled to a day off on a public holiday. Full and part-time employees are to be paid for the full day at their base rate, while casuals may have the day off but it will be unpaid. Employers are entitled to ask employees to work on a public holiday, but only if their request is reasonable. And similarly, employees can refuse to work on a public holiday if their request is reasonable.
Depending on the award or agreement, there are several ways that payment for a public holiday may be handled. They include:
- A day off paid at the employee’s base rate (full and part time employees only)
- A different paid day off
- An extra day added to the employee’s annual leave balance
- Penalty rates for hours worked on the public holiday
Awards may also include further clauses such as a higher penalty rate for working on December 25th than on other public holidays, or a minimum number of hours at penalty rate if the employee works a part day. It is also worth checking the award or agreement to see whether it addresses the start time of the employee, as some awards will say for e.g. that a shift starting at 11 pm on the public holiday doesn’t have to be paid at penalty rates, but a shift starting at 11 pm the night before the public holiday will be paid at penalty rates.
If an employee is on annual or personal (aka sick or carers) leave on a public holiday, no leave hours are to be deducted from their accrual balance for that day. Instead, they should be paid their base rate for the day.
All of the information needed regarding how to handle payment for a public holiday will be found in your award or agreement. To go along with that, you will find the full list of upcoming public holidays for all states on the Fair Work website.