Working on Public Holidays
Employees must be asked to work on a Public Holiday and the employer must consider your reasons if you decline the request to work on the particular public holiday. This follows a recent decision in the Federal Court of Australia.
The employer cannot take the position that it will only allow public holiday work to be declined in exceptional circumstances. That would not be reasonable, although if you decline the work the request to work must be unreasonable or alternatively the reason that you do not want to work must be reasonable.
The following criteria must be considered when deciding whether or not you should be rostered to work:
- The nature of the industry,
- Your personal circumstances, including family responsibilities,
- Whether you would expect that you might be asked to work,
- Whether you receive overtime, penalty rate or other compensation,
- Whether you are full-time, part-time or casual,
- The amount of notice given by your employer in requesting you work,
- The amount of notice you might provide in declining to work, and
- Any other factors.
Once your employer considers those factors, they may still require you to work, but the refusal to allow you to have the public holiday off must be made on reasonable grounds.
Nothing in your Award, enterprise agreement or employment contract changes this entitlement.
You can read a more detailed explanation here.