by Ben Desir and Troy Wild, NRA Legal
A number of us are looking forward to the upcoming Easter long weekend and attending ANZAC Day ceremonies. However, for employers, public holidays can be confusing particularly when trying to determine how employees should be paid. The answer depends on whether your employees are working or not.
According to the National Employment Standards (NES) employees are not required to work on a public holiday unless they have been requested to by the employer.
The NES also states that the request must be reasonable. An employee may only refuse such a request if their refusal is reasonable. Whether refusal is reasonable is determined by some criteria. NRA can assist you in determining if the refusal is reasonable.
Any employee working on a public holiday will be entitled to be paid at the appropriate public holiday penalty rates in accordance with the relevant Modern Award or enterprise agreement. Depending on the Modern Award, the employer and employee may be able to substitute the public holiday worked for another day off without loss of pay, or an additional day of annual leave.
If an employee is absent for a public holiday on a day or part-day that they would ordinarily work, they are still entitled to be paid and payment will be at their base rate of pay for hours ordinarily worked on that day or part-day. Please note that an employee’s base rate of pay does not include loadings, overtime or penalty rates. This will not apply to a public holiday that falls on an employee’s non-working day or to a casual employee.
Employee pay and conditions can be a complex area, particularly when it comes to public holidays. To speak with an NRA Workplace Advisor on how to pay your employees over the Easter and ANZAC Day periods, call today on 1800 RETAIL (1800 738 245).