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Ask Maddy: Christmas, New Year and Australia Day public holidays 2021–22

Ask Maddy: Christmas, New Year and Australia Day public holidays 2021–22

Madeleine Harradence, Assistant Secretary of ANMF (Vic Branch)

With Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day all falling on weekends in 2021, how do the upcoming public holidays impact your penalty rates?

Christmas Day Saturday 25 December 2021
Boxing Day Sunday 26 December 2021
*Christmas Day (additional public holiday) Monday 27 December 2021
*Boxing Day (additional public holiday) Tuesday 28 December 2021
New Year’s Day Saturday 1 January 2021
*New Years’ Day (additional public holiday) Monday 3 January 2022
Australia Day Wednesday 26 January 2022

General principles for payment – working on actual public holiday

Members will note that there are some “additional” public holidays mentioned above. In reality they are not additional, as the terms of most enterprise agreements require that the public holiday penalty applies to the actual day (for example 25 December for Christmas rather than the additional Christmas Day public holiday that occurs on Monday).

However, if you were a Monday-to-Friday worker you would be entitled to the public holiday on the Monday, and not the actual day. This is explained further below.

Members should check their enterprise agreement to confirm their entitlement.

Full-time, part-time, registered nurses, enrolled nurses, midwives and mental health nurses who are required to work on the public holiday will receive double time for each hour worked, and for weekend public holidays double time and a half (inclusive of the weekend penalty).

Casual employees are usually entitled to double the casual rate for time worked on a public holiday Monday to Friday (125 per cent + 125 per cent = 250 per cent) and for a casual on a weekend public holiday 312.5 per cent.

Private and aged care employees need to check their current agreements. Some casual employees in the aged care sector will be entitled to 175 per cent per cent for public holidays.

General principles for payment – not working on the public holiday

If you are full-time or part-time and would normally work the day that the public holiday falls, but are not required to work because it is a public holiday, you are entitled to the day off on ordinary pay for that day.

Full-time employees who are rostered off on the public holiday receive a day’s ordinary pay for that day. The same applies to part-time nurses and midwives, if they usually work on that day.

Some agreements may provide a public holiday payment to part-time employees who do not work the public holiday on a pro-rata basis.

For example:

Average hours (preceding six months) x shift length = base payment x penalty = payment

24 (0.63) x 8 hours = 5.05 hours x time = 5.05 hours

Part-time private acute registered nurses, ENs and midwives should check current workplace agreements as the entitlements may differ.

Private aged care employees should check their current workplace agreements.

Will I be paid public holiday penalty rates for working both the actual public holiday and the additional day?

No, you are not entitled to be paid public holiday penalties for both the actual and substitute / additional day. You will only receive a public holiday penalty for one of these days. Please see example table below:

Worked on the actual day
Saturday 25 December 2021
Worked on the additional day Monday 27 December 2021 Did not work either
Paid public holiday penalty rates for the actual day. No penalty applies to working the additional day or being rostered off on the additional day. Paid public holiday penalty rates apply (providing you did not also work the actual day). If you worked the actual day and work the additional day, ordinary time rates apply. Paid public holiday penalty ‘not worked’ for one public holiday but not both.


If a Mon–Fri worker, the public holiday will be paid for the additional day.

*Note: the above is in addition to other penalties received, for example shift penalties and weekend penalties still apply.

ADO on public holiday

If your accrued day off falls on a public holiday, another day, determined by your employer, will be taken instead, where practical within the same four- or five-week work cycle.

Public holidays occurring during a period of annual leave

If a public holiday occurs during your annual leave, you will receive the public holiday entitlement appropriate to the enterprise agreement for the workplace, and that day is not deducted from your accrued annual leave.

Personal leave (sick leave /carers leave) on a public holiday

If you take personal leave on a public holiday, the day would be viewed as a public holiday not required to work and not deducted from personal leave.

Public sector night duty entitlement on public holidays

A night duty employee is entitled to be paid at the appropriate public holiday rates for each hour worked on that ‘part of the shift’ that falls on the public holiday, and at the pro rata public holiday ‘rostered off benefit’ for that part of the shift that falls on the public holiday that you are not rostered to work.

Private acute and aged care employees will need to check their current agreements.

Public mental health registered and enrolled nurse night duty payment on public holiday

The agreement provisions dealing with the public holiday entitlements of employees working a night shift would entitle full-time and part-time nurses who are rostered to work on the night shift ending on the public holiday to receive the public holiday penalty rates for the entire shift (clause 88.8 a).

Employees rostered to work on the night shift commencing on the public holiday will not receive the public holiday penalty rates for the that shift (clause 88.8 b)

An employee not rostered to work on the night shift ending on the public holiday will receive the applicable rostered off benefit (clause 88.8 c).