With Easter around the corner, it is a good time to go over the frequently asked questions that come up around public holidays.
Which public holidays are applicable over the Easter Period? Check your award or enterprise agreement in the first instance. If not specified, you can refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman site or your relevant state’s website: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/public-holidays/list-of-public-holidays
If an employee is ordinarily rostered to work on a day that a public holiday falls and they are not required to work, what rate of pay is the employee to be paid at?
Public holidays are paid at the base rate of pay for the ordinary hours that they would have worked. The base pay rate doesn’t include: any incentive-based payments, bonuses, loadings, monetary allowances, overtime or penalty rates.
An employee is rostered to work on a public holiday and calls in sick. Are they entitled to be paid for the public holiday not worked or is their Personal / Carers leave balance to be deducted? This is processed as public holiday not worked at the employees base rate of pay. An employee can’t be taken to be on personal / carers leave on a public holiday.
An employee is working on a public holiday and goes home sick. How are they to be paid? At public holiday rates and a deduction from their sick leave balance? Pay the employee at Public Holiday rates for the hours actually worked and at the employee’s base rate of pay for the hours not worked. Do not make the deduction for the hours not worked from the employees sick leave balance as this will be treated as a public holiday.
An employee is on unpaid leave on either side a public holiday. Are they entitled to be paid for the public holiday? No, the public holiday is unpaid as their base rate of pay is zero.
An employee is on unpaid leave on one side of the public holiday, are they entitled to be paid for the public holiday? This is grey area, but our advice is for the public holiday to be paid.
An employees last day of notice on termination is a public holiday, do they get paid the public holiday? Yes, as it forms part of their notice period.
An employee is on paid leave at half pay and a public holiday falls within that period, what rate of pay is the public holiday to be paid at? Public holidays are paid at the employees base rate of pay. Whist an employee is on half pay leave, their base rate of pay is at half pay. Therefore, the public holiday is paid at half pay.
If an employee works a public holiday, what is the relevant rate of pay? The award will state the rate of pay for a public holiday worked. If your employee is truly Award-free, then anything over and above the person’s normal pay for the day is paid by negotiation between yourself and the employee
Do employees receive super for public holidays? Payment for public holidays not worked is considered ordinary time earnings and is superable.
If a public holiday is worked and it is a normal working day (not overtime) then the full pay for the day (including any penalty rates) will be subject to super.
If a public holiday worked is considered overtime, then super is not payable.
Are employees entitled to public holidays during company paid parental leave?
Company paid parental leave is over and above the legislation, in which case the business needs to decide how they are going to treat situations like this. Often organisations won’t extend paid parental leave by public holidays and will just pay the number of weeks (i.e 6 or 12), but it really comes down to company policy and practice.
Are employees entitled to public holidays whilst on Government Paid Parental Leave? No, you only need to pass on the funds from the government.