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‘What happens if I need an employee to work on a public holiday?’

The Fair Work Act talks about public holidays a lot. It is a hotly debated issue in Workplace Relations.
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‘What happens if I need an employee to work on a public holiday?’

‘What happens if I need an employee to work on a public holiday?’

26 August 2016

The Fair Work Act talks about public holidays a lot. It is a hotly debated issue in Workplace Relations. As for whether you are within your rights to ask someone to work on, say, the Queen’s Birthday, the Act clearly states that you can – as long as said request is reasonable. In this situation, the onus of proof is on the employer.

The employee is entitled to refuse if the request from the employer is not reasonable or their refusal is reasonable. In this situation, the onus of proof is on the employee.
 

To determine whether the employer’s request is reasonable, the following must be taken into account:

  1. The nature of the employer’s workplace and the nature of the employee’s work
  2. The employee’s personal circumstances, including family responsibilities
  3. Whether the employee could reasonably expect that the employer might request work on the public holiday
  4. Whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime payments, penalty rates or other compensation for, or a level of remuneration that reflects an expectation of, work on the public holiday
  5. The type of employment of the employee (for example, whether full-time, part-time, casual or shiftwork)
  6. The amount of notice in advance of the public holiday given by the employer when making the request
  7. In relation to the refusal of a request: the amount of notice in advance of the public holiday given by the employee when refusing the request
  8. Any other relevant matter.
 

‘And what if – GULP – they work overtime on a public holiday?’

An employee who works in excess of their specified shift is not entitled – under most Modern Awards – to be paid overtime rates in addition to the appropriate public holiday penalty rate.

 



 

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