Taking a public holiday
Thinking about whether a day would “otherwise be a working day” is key to determining an employee’s entitlement regarding public holidays, alternative holidays, sick leave and bereavement leave.
In most cases, whether a day would “otherwise be a working day” is clear because the working week or roster is constant and both the employer and employee can understand and agree about whether the employee would otherwise work on the day.
Where the employer and the employee cannot agree whether a day would “otherwise be a working day”, they should consider the following issues:
- What the employment agreement says.
- The employee’s usual work patterns.
- The employer’s rosters or other similar systems.
- The reasonable expectations of the employer and employee as to whether the employee would work on the day concerned.
- Whether the employee works for the employer only when work is available.
- Whether, but for the day being a public holiday, an alternative holiday, or a day on which the employee was on sick leave or bereavement leave, the employee would have worked on the day concerned.
- Whether it is during a customary closedown period
- Any other relevant factors.
If the employer and employee are unable to reach agreement, a Labour Inspector has the power to determine the matter, taking into consideration the same issues.
If an employee has a day off on a public holiday, the employee is paid for that day if it would “otherwise be a working day” for them.
- If a part-time employee normally works four hours each day on Tuesday and Wednesday and normally works eight hours on Friday, the employee will be given Good Friday off with eight hours’ pay, but will not be entitled to pay for Easter Monday.
- Where an employee’s roster requires three 10-hour days on Monday to Wednesday one week (week one) and the same hours on Thursday to Saturday the following week (week two), and if week one coincides with the week in which Good Friday falls, this employee will not get paid for Good Friday or Easter Monday (that will fall in week two) because they would not have been scheduled to work on that Friday or Monday. If, however, week two coincides with Good Friday, the employee will be entitled to a holiday on pay for both Good Friday and Easter Monday.