The effect of various work patterns
The Holidays Act 2003 addresses the public holiday entitlements for employees in a number of work patterns where entitlements are unclear, including:
- employees working shifts
- employees on call
- where the parties dispute whether a day would “otherwise be a working day”.
Public holiday entitlements for shift workers
Employees working shifts are entitled to no less than:
- their relevant daily pay (or average daily pay if applicable) for their normal rostered shift when they take a public holiday as a day off work
- the greater of time and a half or relevant daily pay including penal rates in their employment agreement for hours worked on the public holiday, plus, if the day would otherwise be a working day, an alternative holiday for each public holiday or part of a public holiday the shift covers.
- An employee starts at 10pm on Christmas Day and ceases work at 6am on Boxing Day. The employee is entitled to eight hours’ pay of at least time and a half and two alternative holidays (one each for Christmas and Boxing Day).
- An employee works from 10pm on Christmas Eve until 6am on Christmas morning. The employee works the same shift beginning on Christmas night, finishing on the morning of Boxing Day. The employee is entitled to two hours’ pay at ordinary time and six hours’ pay of at least time and a half for the first shift, and to eight hours’ pay of at least time and a half for the second shift, and to two alternative holidays (one each for Christmas Day and Boxing Day).
- An employee working an eight-hour shift starting on Anzac Day[*] at 10pm is entitled to two hours’ pay of at least time and a half, six hours’ pay at the normal hourly rate, plus a full day’s alternative holiday.
Employees on call on public holidays have different entitlements depending on the nature of the call-out arrangement:
- If the employee is called out, they are entitled to at least time and a half for the time worked, plus a full day’s paid alternative holiday if the day would otherwise be a working day for them.
- If the employee is required to restrict activities on the day to the extent that they have not enjoyed a full holiday – for example, if the employee is required to stay at home all day, but is not called out – the employee is entitled to a full day’s paid alternative holiday if the day would otherwise be a working day for them.
- If the employee is on call, but is not required to restrict activities – for example, if the employee can choose not to accept the call-out – entitlement to an alternative holiday would arise only if the employee accepts a call-out and the day would otherwise have been a working day for the employee.
If the employee is not called out but the day would otherwise be a working day, they would be entitled to their relevant daily pay or average daily pay, where applicable. Any payment for being on call would be as included in the employee’s employment agreement or as negotiated by the parties.
Entitlements to an alternative holiday do not apply where the person called out has an employment relationship with the employer only on the public holiday.