Public Holidays

In addition to annual holidays, employees are entitled to 11 public holidays each year, if the public holidays fall on days the employee would normally work.

There are two types of public holidays; the Christmas and New Year period, and other holidays. Special rules apply to the Christmas and New Year holidays.  These rules do not apply to all other public holidays. If the Christmas and New Year holidays fall on the weekend and your employees do not normally work on the weekend, the holiday is transferred to the following Monday or Tuesday so that the employee is still entitled to a paid day off if they normally work those days. Please see the public holiday dates information factsheet for details.

What you must do

  • All employees are entitled to a paid day off on a public holiday if it falls on a day the employee would normally work.
  • You may require an employee to work on a public holiday if:
    • the holiday falls on a day the employee would normally have worked, and
    • the employment agreement specifies that the employee may be required to work on the public holiday.
  • You must ensure that employees receive the correct pay for public holidays.The minimum payment is time and a half for the hours actually worked on the public holiday.
  • Put a clause in your employment agreements that states whether you require employees to work on public holidays and that they will be paid at least time and a half if this happens.
  • If the public holiday worked would have been the employee’s normal working day, the employee is also entitled to a whole paid day off at another time (an “alternative” holiday), regardless of how many hours they actually worked on the public holiday. “Alternative” holidays are paid at your employee’s relevant daily pay rate or or average daily pay if applicable
  • If your employee does not work on a public holiday and it would otherwise be a working day for them, they are paid their usual relevant daily pay, or average daily pay for the public holiday.
  • Employees on call on public holidays have different entitlements depending on the nature of the call-out arrangement. See Employees on call on public holidays.

What you could do

  • Use our Holidays and Leave Tool to work out what pay and leave an employee is entitled to on public holidays. Make sure you have payroll information or a payslip handy when you use it.
  • Give your employees plenty of notice if you want them to work on an upcoming public holiday.  
  • You may find some staff want to work on public holidays for the extra pay, while others don’t. Consider using a roster, especially over Christmas when many people don’t want to work.
  • Consider transferring public holidays to better suit business requirements or employee needs. This can only be done if both parties agree and it does not reduce the number of public holidays the employee is entitled to.
  • See the Holidays and Leave booklet for more information.