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What are my employer obligations with Public Holidays?

what are my employer obligations with public holidays

Are you aware of the entitlements of your employees on Public Holidays?

Each State and Territory has various public holidays throughout the year. Although public holidays are designed to take time off your everyday life in celebration of culture, life and family, in some cases employees may still be required to work.

If you’re in the building and construction industry and considering how a public holiday will impact your business, you will need to refer to your relevant industry’s Award. An Award sets out the minimum requirements and obligations employers in the building and construction industry need to meet for their employees.

The general award which relates to building and construction industry is the Building and Construction General On-Site Award 2010 [MA000020].

Under this Award, if you have an employee who works on a public holiday, they must be paid at public holiday rates unless the employee is a shift worker who:

  • Starts work after 11pm on a public holiday. In which case, the time worked between 11pm and midnight is paid at normal rates.

Also, under the Award, you must pay employees who work on a public holiday a minimum of 4 hours at public holiday rates (regardless of how many hours the employee has worked).

The Award also allows for a public holiday to be substituted for another day, if the employer and a majority of employees agree. If this is the case, employees are paid at normal rates on the formal public holiday, but at public holiday rates on the agreed substituted date.

Remember, there are specific occupations related to the building and construction industry which may be covered by different awards. Examples include:

  • Electricians – Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award 2010 [MA000025]

  • Shopfitters, Carpenters, Painters – Joinery and Building Trades Award 2010 [MA000029]

  • Plumber – Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award 2010 [MA000036].

Different Industry Awards may have different obligations to those listed in this blog.

Contact us at Dolman Bateman or Buildersbooks if you are looking for an experienced accountant or Bookkeeper.


This information is not to be relied upon without speaking to your accountant, tax agent or financial adviser depending on the advice.

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