Staff wages for public holidays over 2016 Christmas/New Year

From Craig Joy, Craig Joy Workplace Consulting

Because Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both fall on a Sunday, the State Government have elected to gazette additional days as public holidays. What usually happens in such cases is that the actual day on which the public holiday falls is no longer officially a public holiday. What the State Government has elected to do is to keep those days as public holidays, but to also create “extra” public holidays as well.

So Christmas Day falls on Sunday 25th December, and remains a public holiday. Boxing Day falls on Monday 26th December, and is a public holiday. Then Tuesday 27th December is gazetted as an “extra” public holiday on account of Christmas Day falling on a Sunday. So all three days are public holidays, and if work occurs on those days, public holiday rates will apply.

Then New Year’s Day falls on Sunday January 1st, which remains a public holiday, but an “extra” public holiday is gazetted for Monday 2nd January on account of New Year’s Day falling on a Sunday. So again, both days are public holidays, and if work occurs on those days, public holiday rates will apply.

Under most Awards and Enterprise Agreements, employees are not entitled to payment for the public holiday unless they would usually work on that day, but are given the day off on account of it being a public holiday. Therefore, an employee who works Monday to Friday does not get anything extra on account of the public holidays on those Sundays, but would get public holidays on the Monday and Tuesday at Christmas, and Monday at New Year. An employee who usually works Wednesday to Saturday would not get anything for any of these public holidays.

Of course, the entitlement can also vary depending on flat rate arrangements and other issues including contractual arrangements.


Shut-downs over Christmas

The review of awards has meant that many more awards now include the requirement for employers to provide written notice to employees of the intention to shut down over Christmas. Four weeks’ notice is commonly required, so time is running out to get that done. Review your award/s to ascertain what notice is required. You will need to ensure you are reviewing the latest version of the award, because anything pre-July this year will not have these updates: