Payment for working on a public holiday

Employees are entitled to paid day off on a public holiday if they would have worked on that day if it was not a public holiday.

For public holiday rights, there are several things to consider:

  • On which day, the public holiday will be observed for each employee, if it is a Mondayised (or Tuesdayised) public holiday
  • Whether the day is an otherwise working day for the employee
  • Whether the employee will be working on the day
  • How much the employee will be paid for the day
  • Whether the employee is entitled to an alternative holiday

Payment is determined using either relevant daily pay (RDP) or average daily pay (ADP).

  • RDP: Paying an employee what they would have earned if they were at work on the day. It includes payments such as taxable allowances, commission and bonuses, overtime payments.
  • ADP: Daily average of the employee’s gross earnings over the past 52 weeks. It is used if it is not possible or practicable to work out RDP or an employee’s daily pay varies in the pay period.

For unworked public holidays and alternative holidays are paid at the rate of relevant daily pay except in two specific circumstances where an employer may choose to use average daily pay.

If employees work on any public holiday, they must get paid at least time and a half for the time they actually work on the day.

The employees are entitled to the greater of either:

  • The portion of the employee’s relevant daily pay that relates to the time actually worked on the day, multiplied by 1.5 or;
  • The portion of the employee’s relevant daily pay that relates to the time actually worked on the day including any penal rates (special rate for public holiday) in the employment agreement.

Some employment agreements specify a salary rate with unspecified hours or patterns of work. Employees on these agreements must be paid at least time and a half for the time actually worked if they work on a public holiday.