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Employee entitlements to public holidays

Pay the correct entitlements when your staff work on a public holiday.

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  • Staff entitlements on public holidays
The Fair Work Ombudsman website gives more information about public holidays and employee entitlements, including rates of pay.

Employees are entitled to public holidays

Public holiday entitlements form part of the National Employment Standards (NES) that underpin employment in Australia.

Full-time and part-time employees who are absent from work because of a public holiday should be paid their base rate of pay for the hours they would otherwise have worked (this does not include incentive-based payments, bonuses, loadings or monetary allowances).

You may request an employee to work on public holidays if the request is reasonable. However, an employee may refuse the request if it is not reasonable or if the refusal is reasonable.

To determine whether a request is reasonable, the employer needs to take into account a number of matters, including:

  • the nature of the business
  • the employee’s personal circumstances, such as family responsibilities
  • the amount of notice given.

Further details can be found at the Fair Work Ombudsman

Public holiday entitlements for staff

Staff working on a public holiday

If you are employing staff on a public holiday, the employee may also be entitled to penalty rates for each hour worked on that day or time off in lieu or equivalent time added to their annual leave in respect of each hour worked on that day.

Employees are not entitled to payment if the public holiday falls on a day that they do not normally work. Casual employees will not enjoy any entitlement if they do not work on a public holiday.