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10 facts about public holidays that can affect your payroll

Any employer (and bookkeeper) will tell you that processing payroll is a complicated task. It’s subject to many variances brought on by both individual employee requirements and state-based payroll laws. Something else that can affect payroll is public holidays and as Easter is fast approaching, we thought it timely to bring this topic to the fore. Here are 10 facts about public holidays that can impact your payroll:

  1. Full-time and part-time employees, who normally work the day on which a public holiday falls, are entitled to take the day off and be paid at their base rate of pay for the ordinary hours they would have worked. Casual employees don’t get paid for public holidays unless they work on the actual day.
  2. Employees that work on a weekend where a public holiday falls, will receive normal pay for that day however they are entitled to the public holiday according to their award or agreement. As always, you need to check the award or enterprise agreement to see what employees are entitled to if working on the day of the actual public holiday etc.
  3. You can ask your employee to work on a public holiday if the request is reasonable. Things you need to consider include:
  • Employees’ personal circumstances
  • The needs of the workplace
  • If the employee’s salary includes public holidays
  • Whether the employee is full time, part time or casual
  • The amount of notice given to that employee
  1. An employee can refuse a request to work on a public holiday if he provides a reasonable argument for not wanting to work. What is considered a reasonable reason is for the employer to decide.
  2. You cannot alter an employee’s roster to avoid a public holiday.
  3. If staff are on annual leave or carers/personal leave on a public holiday, the public holiday is paid and not taken out of their leave balance. This means that the employees will receive their full base rate for that day.
  4. Substitute public holidays are when a holiday falls on a weekend and therefore the following weekday is declared the holiday to make up for it. In states and territories that have a substitute public day, the substitute day is the only day regarded as that public holiday.
  5. Additional public holidays are when a public holiday is declared that is out of the norm e.g. Grand Final Eve.
  6. At Easter time, public holidays differ from state to state. For example, Easter Sunday is a public holiday in NSW but not in Queensland. Here is a guide by state and territory so you can check which Easter holidays are public holidays where you are based. Following on from this, it’s important to note that in general, each state and territory has its own public holidays. See this link for a complete list here.

So that’s a little bit about public holidays and how they may impact on wages payments to your employees. As always, please seek advice from your accounting professional if you have specific questions regarding your payroll as this information is very general in nature.

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7 thoughts on “10 facts about public holidays that can affect your payroll”

  1. I wanted to find out why I haven’t been paid my work week ended 24/12/21 and normally I would be paid on Monday 27th why does the public holidays effect my pay isn’t done by computer.

    1. It’s probably a bank issue. Some banks don’t process payments on public holidays. Also, if your employer missed the bank cut-off time on the 24th December, then that would delay your payment too. Best thing to do is contact your employer and ask him or her what happened.

  2. Hi. I’ve tried looking up this question but have fallen short, my work has just informed me that because it’s a public holiday on payment process day we will be paid after the normal pay day (paid a day late). Is this correct? Or should we be paid prior to the public holiday?

    1. Hi Carrie,
      This would be an internal decision by your employer. It would be best to ask your employer about this as the issue isn’t really related to a payroll rule as such, it’s more about how your employer runs the business.

  3. hi, My roster is 4 days, monday till thursday and on 2nd week 3 nights, so the public holidays that fall on friday we miss out on.
    Does that sound right?
    Regards Sam

  4. If Public Holiday fall on Saturday and Sunday why are employer giving me extra day on Thursday ? I’m working on Monday to Friday ( Hotel worker) and we can’t request 1.5 Pay + Till ( time in liew ) anymore , is this legal

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