COVID-19 may have quashed our Easter plans, but the holiday period still creates payroll issues for employers. What penalty rates should be paid, and what can you do if an employee refuses to work on a public holiday.
The following days are the public holidays declared by the relevant state and territory government over this year’s Easter period.
All states and territories
Good Friday – Friday 10 April
Easter Saturday – Saturday 11 April (except Tasmania and Western Australia)
Easter Sunday – Sunday 12 April (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Australian Capital Territory)
Easter Monday – Monday 13 April
Work on a public holiday
Payment for any work performed by an employee on a public holiday is determined by the applicable modern award or enterprise agreement. Payment for work performed on a public holiday for an award/agreement free employee is subject to the terms of an employee’s contract of employment.
Work on Good Friday
A modern award may provide a greater penalty rate for work performed on Good Friday. For example, the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010 provides that all time worked on Good Friday is paid at treble time, while the Meat Industry Award 2010 provides that all employees (including casuals) who work on Good Friday will be paid at double time and a half for the first four hours and treble time thereafter.
Reference should be made to the applicable modern award or enterprise agreement to determine the appropriate penalty rate for work performed on Good Friday.
Work on Easter Saturday
Apart from Western Australia and Tasmania, Easter Saturday (the Saturday following Good Friday) is a declared public holiday in all other states and territories. This means work performed on Easter Saturday in most jurisdictions will be paid at the appropriate public holiday penalty rate.
In Western Australia and Tasmania, work performed on Easter Saturday would attract the appropriate Saturday work penalty rate prescribed by the applicable modern award or enterprise agreement.
Work on Easter Sunday
New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory have Easter Sunday declared as a public holiday for the state/territory. This means that any work performed on Easter Sunday in these jurisdictions will attract the appropriate public holiday penalty rate prescribed by the applicable modern award or enterprise agreement.
In the other three states and the Northern Territory, no public holiday law has declared Easter Sunday as a public holiday. Any work performed in these jurisdictions would be paid at the appropriate Sunday penalty rate prescribed by the applicable modern award or enterprise agreement.