Leave loading is your new friend these holidays

Published: 17/12/2022
Category: Workers rights
Published: 17/12/2022
Category: Workers rights

For many full-time and part-time workers, the summer period is a favourite for taking annual leave.  

You are likely already familiar with annual leave, but have you heard of annual leave loading? Many workers are entitled to this extra pay on top of their annual leave. 

But before we plunge into the perks of leave loading, take a moment to check you know your public holiday entitlements.

Payment on a public holiday

Typically, full-time and part-time employees receive a paid day off on a public holiday and still receive their ordinary rate of pay.  

However, an employer may request you work on a public holiday. In this case, their request must be reasonable and the employer would be required to pay the relevant penalty rates as outlined in the Award (usually 225 per cent of the ordinary rate). 

AwardFull-time and Part-time employees
Fast Food Industry Award225% of ordinary rate
General Retail Industry Award225% of ordinary rate
Health Professionals and Support Services Award250% of ordinary rate
Hospitality Industry (General) Award225% of ordinary rate
Registered & Licensed Clubs Award250% of ordinary rate
Restaurant Industry Award225% of ordinary rate
Note: this table is a guide only. Source: Fair Work.

Full-time or part-time employees who are absent for part or all of a public holiday, or if a public holiday falls on a day they would ordinarily work, are entitled to public holiday pay. 

In some cases, if a full-time or part-time employee works on a public holiday, they may be eligible for an extra day off or an extra day of annual leave.  

If you believe you have not been paid your entitlements, it’s best to contact your union. 

Refusal to work on a public holiday

Under the National Employment Standards (NES), an employer can ask an employee to work on a public holiday as long as their request is reasonable. However, an employee may refuse to work if they have reasonable grounds. 

There are a variety of factors that should be considered when deciding if a request is reasonable such as personal circumstances, needs of the workplace and the amount of notice provided. 

If you’re unsure of your right to work on a public holiday or what entitlements you’re entitled to, Australian unions can provide support.

Annual leave over the holidays

Most non-essential businesses have a shutdown period over the holidays in which an employer can direct full-time and part-time employees to take annual leave if their Award or agreement allows it. Some may even continue to work remotely throughout the holiday period (and should still receive their normal pay). 

The rules surrounding these periods and the rights of the employee differ depending on the Award. If you’re not sure whether your employer’s request counts as ‘reasonable’, get in touch with your union.  

And while annual leave is a great opportunity to take time off work, you might also be entitled to extra pay thanks to leave loading.

Leave loading

If you are entitled to leave loading, you will see a few more dollars appear on your pay slips when you take annual leave.  

You will usually receive your leave loading payment included in the same payment as your annual leave, provided you are eligible. Most  modern Awards  include leave loading but best check with your union if you’re unsure.

Depending on your award or agreement, leave loading is usually around 17.5 per cent extra pay on top of your annual leave pay. Pretty good perk, right? It didn’t happen by accident.  

The history of leave loading goes back to the efforts of union members in the 1970s that resulted in the introduction of leave loading. The purpose was to compensate workers for extra expenses incurred during leave. 

Thanks to union members, we have workers’ rights so many of us take for granted. Universal superannuation, Medicare, penalty rates, annual, parental and sick leave – even the weekend.  

Union members have been standing up for workers for more than a century. And we’re doing the same for generations to come.

We stand up for workers’ rights together

Cover photo credit: Nathan Hurst on Unsplash

Leave loading is your new friend these holidays

Leave loading is your new friend these holidays