With the Easter Holiday Period right around the corner, many employers are facing the challenge of understanding exactly what their obligations are to their employees over this period.

To help navigate this challenge, we have put together a list of the common questions when considering employee entitlements over the Easter Break.


What are the public holidays in my state?

Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays in all States and Territories within Australia. However, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday may vary depending on your state.

For a full list of relevant Public Holidays, please click here.

It is important to note that this list may not include specific regional holidays, so it is important for Employers to review their relevant state industrial website for any other non-metropolitan Public Holidays that may apply.


What if my employees are working on a Public Holiday?

Employees are entitled to be paid for any time worked on a Public Holiday.

It is important for employers to ensure they have referred to any Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement that covers their employees, as these may provide for special provisions for employees working on a Public Holiday such as an entitlement for a higher penalty rate for time worked. Many Modern Awards provide for Public Holiday work to be paid at double-time-and-a-half.

Modern Awards or Agreements can also provide for other obligations for Employers rostering Employees on a Public Holiday such as:

  • Minimum Shift Engagement
  • Entitlement to Time Off in Lieu
  • Entitlement to an Additional Day of Annual Leave
  • Ability to substitute the Public Holiday for another day


Can my employee refuse to work on a Public Holiday?

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) section 114, an employee is entitled to be absent from work on public holiday. However, an employer can require an employee to work on a public holiday where that requirement is reasonable.

When considering whether the requirement is reasonable, the following may be taken into consideration:

  • the employee’s personal circumstances, (eg. family responsibilities)
  • whether the employee will get more pay (eg. penalty rates)
  • the needs of the workplace or the industry
  • the nature of the work the employee does
  • whether the employee’s salary includes work on a public holiday
  • whether the employee is full-time, part-time, casual or a shiftworker
  • how much notice the employee was given about working
  • the amount of notice the employee gives that they refuse to work.


What do I pay employees not working on a Public Holiday?

If an employee would have ordinarily worked on a day that is a public holiday, they will be entitled to be paid their base rate of pay for the ordinary hours they would have worked. This is not taken out of their Annual Leave balance.

Employees who would not have ordinarily worked on a day that is a Public Holiday generally do not get paid for absence on that day, but Modern Awards or Enterprise Agreements may provide for other provisions around employees not working on a Public Holiday, such as payment for rostered days off that fall on a Public Holiday.

Casual employees generally are not entitled to be paid for absence on a Public Holiday.


What if my Employee is on Annual Leave or Personal/Carer’s Leave during a Public Holiday?

An employee is taken not to be on leave where a Public Holiday falls on a day of Annual Leave or Personal/Carer’s Leave. This means the employee will receive payment for the Public Holiday not worked as they normally would, and this day will not be deducted from their leave balance.


About Employment Innovations

Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.



The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.