A survival guide for Christmas casuals: holiday pay and protection at work

Published: 19/12/2022
Category: Workers rights
Published: 19/12/2022
Category: Workers rights

Casual workers: we see you. It is a tough job working through the hectic holiday season.  

Regardless of whether you’re selling gifts, packaging products, or serving Christmas lunches, we’re here to make sure you are paid and protected these holidays.  

First things first, keep an eye out on these days for those sweet public holiday penalty rates

  • Sunday 25December 2022  
  • Monday 26 December 2022  
  • Tuesday 27 December 2022  
  • Sunday 1 January 2023 (except Tasmania)  
  • Monday 2 January 2023  

You might even have more public holidays than these depending on where you work. Check to see the public holidays for your state or territory for 2022 and 2023

For the most part, casual workers are paid at 250 per cent of their base rate of pay for public holidays. Check your Award or enterprise agreement to see if that applies to your workplace.  

And keep receipts. You need to look at your pay slips to make sure you’re getting paid correctly.  

Don’t just look at your wages. Make sure you are getting (as a minimum) 10.5 per cent in superannuation and any other allowances that may apply such as for your uniform or equipment.  

If the numbers look a bit dodgy or your employer isn’t providing pay slips, contact your union. 

No excuse for poor behaviour

Just because people are rushing around during the holiday period does not mean you should ever have to deal with abuse or harassment.

Abuse is never just part of the job. When faced with a customer or client who is verbally or physically aggressive, ask your supervisor or manager to come help you with the customer. 

It’s your manager/supervisor’s responsibility to explain to the customer that behaviour is not acceptable and to warn them that any repetition will not be tolerated. 

Your employer has a duty to provide a safe work environment for all workers. New laws also ensure that your employer is responsible for protecting you against sexual harassment, even from customers and clients. 

When you find yourself – or see a workmate – in an unsafe situation and you lack support, that’s when you need to talk to your union.

It pays to be in a union

Even if you and your workmates are at a workplace for only the holiday season, that doesn’t mean your employer can slack off in following the rules. 

Bullying. Harassment. Unfair dismissal. Your union membership ensures you have support if or when you need it.  

Don’t worry if you’re only in a seasonal or temporary job – you can still join a union even if it’s for only a few months. 

We stand together whenever members want help, but the course of action we take is entirely up to you.

You’re never alone when you’re a union member

Cover photo credit: Heidi Fin on Unsplash

A survival guide for Christmas casuals: holiday pay and protection at work

A survival guide for Christmas casuals: holiday pay and protection at work