By Bethany Silverman

As we approach the Easter holiday break, employers will need to wrap their heads around public holidays and their obligations. Perhaps we can ease your mind and allow you to relax over the Easter break – here we have answered the top three public holidays questions we get asked by our clients via the Telephone Advisory Service.

1. What are the public holidays for this Easter period?

Public holiday States recognised
Good Friday 2 April 2021 ALL
Easter Saturday – 3 April 2021 ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC
Easter Sunday – 4 April 2021 ACT, NSW, QLD, VIC
Easter Monday – 5 April 2021 ALL


A full list of public holidays in 2021 can be found here.

All work performed on declared public holidays must be paid at public holiday rates. Check your Award or Enterprise Agreement for the correct public holiday rates.

2. Can I force my employee to work on a public holiday if they say they don’t want to?

In accordance with section 114 of the Fair Work Act 2009, all employees have a right to be absent from work on a day that is a public holiday.

You can request for your employees to work on a public holiday, but that request must be reasonable. An employee may only refuse that request if:

  1. your request is not reasonable; or
  2. their refusal is reasonable.

When looking at whether a request (or refusal) to work on a public holiday is reasonable, the following factors are generally taken into account:

  • the operational requirements of the business;
  • the employee’s personal circumstances (e.g. family or carer’s responsibilities);
  • whether the employee could reasonably expect to be asked to work on a public holiday;
  • whether the employee would be compensated with penalty payments, overtime etc; and
  • the amount of notice in advance that you gave when making the request, and by the employee when refusing the request.

3. What if my employee takes leave for the public holidays?

As stated above, employees have the right to be absent from work on a day that is a public holiday. This also means that employees are not taken to be on a period of paid leave on a public holiday. This extends to both personal leave, and annual leave in accordance with sections 89 and 98 of the Fair Work Act 2009.

For example, if a full-time employee took annual leave from 1 March 2021 until 5 March 2021, only one day would be deducted from their annual leave balance, as Good Friday is a public holiday.

For more information on public holidays HR Assured clients should contact our Telephone Advisory Service.

Not an HR Assured customer yet? If you’d like to try our award-winning Telephone Advisory Service for FREE contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.

Bethany Silverman is a qualified Senior Workplace Relations Consultant at FCB Group and HR Assured. She regularly provides advice to a wide range of businesses in respect of compliance with workplace laws and managing complex matters including disciplinary and performance management processes and terminations.