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Fairwork advice for spontaneous public holiday to honour Queen Posted on September 19, 2022
Thursday September 22 will be a “one-off” public holiday to commemorate the life of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The public holiday was announced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and confirmed for NSW by the Minister for Employee Relations Damien Tudehope under section 5 of the Public Holidays Act 2010.
Businesses have had to scramble to accommodate the sudden change, with speculation that it could cost the economy $1.5 billion. As one mourner for the Queen said, death is inconvenient, but for many, the opportunity to pay respects to the Queen in this way is important.
Shops and retailers can trade as they normally would on other public holidays, such as Australia Day or New Year’s Day, as opposed to more restricted holidays such as Christmas and Good Friday.
For employers and employees, the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 regarding working on public holidays will apply.
Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements for working public holidays may apply, such as extra pay (for example public holiday rates), an extra day off or extra annual leave, minimum shift lengths on public holidays or agreeing to substitute a public holiday for another day.
Employees don’t have to work on a public holiday. However, an employer can ask an employee to work on a public holiday, if the request is reasonable. An employee may refuse a request to work if they have reasonable grounds.
When requesting that an employee work on a public holiday, employers need to consider all relevant circumstances.
If you are a business owner or manager and are confused or concerned about employee entitlements that pertain to this particular public holiday, please contact us.