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. This occurs in 2009 as St Stephen’s Day (26th of December) falls on a Saturday. This means that Monday 28th of December 2009 is not a public holiday. When this happens you are entitled to one of the normal public Holiday Benefits as listed above.
  • Full time employees on sick leave during a public holiday, are entitlement to time off work for the public holiday missed. Part-time workers on sick leave during a public holiday, are entitled to time off work for the public holiday, provided you had 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.
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