By Courtney West

We are coming up to the most eggcellent time of year! Easter brings not only an influx of chocolate, bunny ears and time with loved ones, it also signals the start of a four-day weekend in some states and territories. There can’t be an Australian who doesn’t revel in the wonders of a public holiday. However, for many employers, it can turn problematic, especially if they do not understand how public holidays are to be paid to an employee.

Before our brains clock off for a well-deserved break, we’ve outlined the Easter public holidays in each state and territory, and we answer four common questions we’ve been asked by clients via our 24/7 Telephone Advisory Service about navigating this period. 

1. What are the Easter public holidays for 2022?

Public Holiday States
Good Friday – 15 April 2022 NSW, VIC, QLD, NT, ACT, SA, WA & TAS
Easter Saturday – 16 April 2022 NSW, VIC, QLD, NT, ACT & SA
Easter Sunday – 17 April 2022 NSW, VIC, QLD, NT, ACT & WA
Easter Monday – 18 April 2022 NSW, VIC, QLD, NT, ACT, SA, WA & TAS

 

2. How are public holidays paid?

When a permanent employee is absent on a public holiday, you must pay them for their ordinary hours of work on that day – this is known as a public holiday not worked. If your employee doesn’t have ordinary hours of work falling on the public holiday, they wouldn’t be entitled to payment. Instead, they simply get to enjoy the day like any other. However, it should be noted that as an employer you cannot temporarily alter rosters to avoid paying public holiday pay.

3. What are employees paid if they work on a public holiday?

For some employees, Easter also creates working incentives to earn a little extra by working over the public holidays. These penalties depend on what modern award or Enterprise Agreement (EA) applies to the employee in question.

The award or EA will set out what public holiday rates apply for work on a public holiday, and whether they’re entitled to any additional benefits such as a guaranteed number of working hours on the public holiday. For example, under the General Retail Industry Award 2020, permanent and casual employees are to be paid 225 per cent and 250 per cent of the minimum hourly rate, respectively.

4. What happens if a public holiday falls during an employee’s leave?

There are the lucky ones amongst us who happen to be on leave during a public holiday. This public holiday doesn’t count as leave. Therefore, it shouldn’t be deducted from the employee’s accrued leave and needs to be paid following the information outlined above.

However, if the leave is unpaid, in some circumstances the employee won’t be entitled to payment. Although a fine distinction indifference, it’s important that an employee’s entitlements are being paid correctly to ensure no issues arise. 

In summary

Slipping into a chocolate coma is a high priority for most of us over this Easter period, but it can be an extra hassle for employers to navigate complex employment issues over this period. By following the guidelines above, you’re sure to enjoy a stress-free Easter long weekend.

If you have any questions regarding modern awards, wages, public holidays, or any other workplace matter, please reach out to our workplace relations experts via our 24/7 Telephone Advisory Service.