Employers Obligations for Public Holiday
It is important that employers understand their obligations to all employees where public holidays are concerned. Most employees are entitled to a public holiday benefit. The exception to this is part-time/casual employees who have not worked at least 40 hours in the last 5 weeks prior to the public holiday.
The public Holiday Benefit can be:
- A paid day off within a month of the public holiday
- An additional day of annual leave
- A paid day off on that day
- An additional day’s pay
If an employer doers not nominate one of these options 21 days prior to the holiday, the employee automatically receives a paid day off on the public holiday.
- Where the public holiday falls on the day an employee is not normally working, or is not scheduled to work, employees are entitled to 1/5th of their actual weekly pay instead of the actual days leave.
- Where a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday the public holiday remains on that day, i.e. it does not change to the following Monday. The employer is still obliged to provide the employees with one of the normal public Holiday Benefits as listed above. For example this occurs in 2011 as Christmas Day (25th December) falls on a Sunday and St Stephen’s day falls on a Monday. This means Monday the 26th is a public holiday (St Stephen’s day) but Tuesday 27th of December 2011 is not a public holiday. However, many employers will be exercising the alternative paid day off for Christmas Day on the Tuesday (27th December). Similarly, as New Year's Day is a Public Holiday and falls on a Sunday this year, employers may pay an additional amount of one fifth of an average week, grant a paid day off on the Sunday or, if the employee does not normally work on the Sunday, an alternative day which for many people will be Monday 2nd January.
- Full time employees on sick leave during a public holiday, are entitled to time off work for the public holiday. Part-time workers on sick leave during a public holiday, are entitled to time off work for the public holiday, provided they have worked at least 40 hours in the previous five-week period.
- Employees are not entitled to public holiday benefits if they have being on sick leave for more than 26 weeks, or for more than 52 weeks due to an occupational accident.
- Employees are entitled to leave for any public holidays that occur while on maternity leave parental leave or adoptive leave.