Unplanned Public Holidays

An unplanned public holiday, as will take place on 22 September 2022, can throw a spanner in the works for Practices with full books.  Below we outline your obligations and some options for managing the day.

Employees who regularly work on the day are entitled to have the day off on pay.  Their pay for the day is their ordinary rate, meaning what the employee normally receives excluding any overtime, penalties, bonuses or incentives.

It may be the public holiday falls on your employee’s regular rostered day off, and if this is the case, the employee would not have normally worked that day and so will not be entitled to pay for the public holiday.  It is important to remember you cannot deliberately roster an employee off just to avoid payment for the public holiday, if they normally work on that day.

If your books are full and you want to stay open, you have couple of options:

  • you can request your employees work on the public holiday.  Please note they can refuse if it is unreasonable based on their personal circumstances.  If your employees agree to work and are covered by the Award, they will be entitled to 250% of their minimum hourly rate, based on their level and classification under the Award.  For example, if your Receptionist is a level 4 (Award rate $24.76) but paid $30 per hour, he/she will be entitled to $61.90 per hour as the calculation is based on the Award rate, unless you have validly agreed otherwise.
  • you can agree with each employee, to substitute the public holiday for another day.  In practical terms the employee has a day off at a later agreed time, and works the public holiday on their ordinary rate.
  • you decide to reschedule some/all patients to a later available day.
Please be aware the rules are different for employees that are not covered by the Award.  If you have employees on an annual salary, you need to take additional steps to ensure they are being paid at least their minimum entitlements as working on the public holiday can result in an underpayment in the relevant fortnight in those cases.

If you would like to discuss your options further, please contact us.

This Circular is produced for guidance purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice. Legal advice should be sought for individual circumstances. For tailored advice for your Practice, please contact us at [email protected].