It’s that time of the year when there seems to be public holidays happening every other week.
We’re here to make sure you know what days officially count as public holidays as well as what your rights are when it comes to working (or not working) public holidays.
When are Easter public holidays for 2023?
Easter is one of those public holidays that changes each year because it’s based on the lunar cycle. The following are the official Easter public holiday dates for 2023.
|2023 Dates||ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, VIC||SA||TAS*||WA||Christmas island|
|Friday 7 April||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Saturday 8 April||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Sunday 9 April||Yes||No||No||Yes||No|
|Monday 10 April||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
*Some Public Service workers in Tasmania have Tuesday 11 April as a public holiday.
How do public holidays work for casual employees?
Most of the time, penalty rates mean you will be paid at 250 per cent of your base pay rate when you work on a public holiday (often referred to as ‘double time and a half’).
You are also normally entitled to penalty rates when you work weekends. For example, if you live in Tasmania and work on Sunday 9 April you will get weekend penalty rates instead of public holiday penalty rates. Unfortunately, penalty rates on weekends are lower than public holiday ones.
How do public holidays work for part-time and full-time employees?
Most part-time and full-time employees get the day off on public holidays and paid the ordinary rate of pay. For part-time employees, you only get paid for the day off if you would normally work that day.
There are instances when your employer can ask that you work the public holiday. If this happens, then their request has to be reasonable, and they also have to pay you penalty rates. These penalty rates are specific to part-time and full-time employees and are typically 225 per cent of the ordinary rate (but check your Award or agreement).
Union members have recently won a case where mining giant BHP was found to not have properly consulted employees about working on public holidays. BHP made 85 employees work more than twelve hours on Christmas Day and Boxing Day without asking employees if they were willing to do so.
So, if your boss has rostered you on to work over Easter without asking you, give your union a call. What counts as a ‘reasonable’ request may not always be obvious. Your union can provide you the best advice to figure that out.