We think you are in Victoria. If not please click 'Change'

In your state, you are required to confirm you wish to access this information. Please enter 'QLD' or 'WA' in the field below to continue.

No thanks

Working on Christmas Day? Employee rights on a public holiday

christmas-bauble-feature

If you work a 9-5 job, you’ll probably spend Christmas Day at home with family, feasting on fine food and swapping gifts. Yet for thousands of Australian workers, the day is business as usual. Doctors, police officers, paramedics, firefighters and carers are among the many who may be requested to work a shift on December 25.

Working Christmas Day can have its benefits in terms of increased pay or penalty rates. But is it compulsory? Can you refuse to work? And if you are rostered on, what are your rights?

Don’t become a Christmas casual statistic: Know your rights as a casual worker

Public holiday rates

All employees are required to be paid at least their base rate of pay for all hours worked on a public holiday. If you’re covered by an award or agreement, you may be entitled to additional benefits. For instance, restaurant employees are covered by the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 and are entitled to penalty rates for all the time worked on a public holiday.

You and your employer can also agree to another arrangement instead of public holiday penalty loading, such as a 25% loading on your ordinary pay rate and a day off with no loss of time.

Do I have to work?

You can refuse a request to work on a public holiday if you have reasonable grounds. When it comes to deciding what constitutes “reasonable grounds”, a variety of factors can be considered. These include:

  • Your personal circumstances
  • Whether you reasonably expected your employer would request you to work, and
  • The amount of notice given.

A common example of reasonable grounds for refusing to work would be if you notified your employer well in advance that you were unavailable due to family commitments.

workers-meeting-christmas

Shine Lawyers – Get in touch

So if you’ve been asked to work this Christmas Day, make sure you know your rights. Check your award, check your payslip and ensure you receive what you’re entitled to.

If you’re unsure of your rights or think they’ve been unfairly infringed, we’re here to help. At Shine Lawyers, we’re experts on all aspects of employment law and offer practical, tailored legal advice for your workplace dispute.

Get in touch and start your legal journey today.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: December 22, 2017.

Join the discussion

Share this article:

There are 0 comments. Be the first!

Dos and don’ts for your work Christmas party

For some, Christmas parties are a time to let your hair down, bond with your colleagues and celebrate the closing of another year. For others, the forced festivity is an ordeal to be survived. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, it’s important to remember that you may be off the clock but you’re […]

Read more

Radio stars dumped: What every Aussie worker needs to know

KiisFm unceremoniously fired Kate Langbroek, Dave Hughes, Meshel Laurie and Matt Tilley on Friday last week. The popular radio hosts were axed from their respective radio shows without warning or a chance to say goodbye to listeners. The radio announcers were supposed to finish their on-air duties on Friday, 8 December. According to news reports, Hughesy […]

Read more

Call Us Now

Our friendly consultants are available to talk Monday to Friday, 8:15am to 6:00pm AEST.

1800 618 851

Live Chat

Chat with Shine Lawyers through the livechat system without leaving your computer. No downloading, completely private and best of all - its easy to use.

Start a live chat now

Enquire Now

Enquire now