Public Holidays in Australia
Easter is fast approaching, despite the fact that many of us are still adjusting to the surprise that we are already in March. In most industries, that means a series of public holidays that can be quite complex with additional annual leave often being taken during this time – a nightmare for salon owners.
Public Holiday entitlements for part of the National Employment Standards, which allows employees to be absent from work on a whole-or-part day declared a public holiday. Employers can request that staff work a public holiday if it is reasonable to do so – for instance, if you have a small team and that is the only way for the business to continue to function, or if your business must be open because the centre where you operate is open during this time.
It is important to remember that employees are entitled to refuse the request to work on a public holiday if the request to work is unreasonable or the refusal itself is reasonable. Full or part time employees must be paid for their ordinary hours of work which fall on the relevant day, whether they are absent on the day or for part of the day that is the public holiday. So if, like at Easter, the public holiday falls on a Friday, then employers are entitled to pay employees the normal rate that they would earn on a Friday. If the employee does not work on that day normally – so Easter Sunday, when many salons would be closed, then the employer is not entitled to pay them or give an additional day in lieu.
Any employee that is required to work on a public holiday must be paid the appropriate penalty rates as per the Hair and Beauty Award. If you don’t know what the correct public holiday rate to pay is, please call the HABA team on (02) 9221 9911. The standard public holiday penalty rate is double and a half for all time worked – although this could soon be up for review.
In the Hair and Beauty Industry it is quite common to trade public holiday work for a substitute day – so staff will work on Good Friday, but will then take the Tuesday off instead. This can be a great way for salons and staff to make a working situation that benefits both the employer and the employee.
If both the public holiday and the substitute day end up being worked:
- the employee is still paid public holiday rates on a day elected by the employee
- if only the actual public holiday is worked, then standard penalty rates apply
- if only the substituted day is worked, then public holiday penalty rates apply