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Employees working shifts or on call

Public holidays for employees working shifts or on call.

It can be difficult to work out public holiday entitlements for employees who work shifts or are on call.

Employees working shifts

Employees who work shifts and:

  • take a public holiday as a day off work, get no less than their relevant daily pay (or average daily pay if applicable) for their normal rostered shift
  • work on the public holiday get:
    • the greater of time and a half or relevant daily pay including penal rates in their employment agreement, for the actual hours worked on the public holiday, and
    • only if they would have otherwise worked on the day, an alternative holiday for each public holiday or part of a public holiday the shift covers.

Time and a half and penal rates and relevant daily pay can provide more information on this matter.

Shifts split across a public holiday and a normal day

Generally, a public holiday runs from midnight to midnight, so if an employee works on any part of the public holiday (and it is an otherwise working day for them) they are entitled to an alternative holiday (as well as time and a half for the time actually worked on the public holiday).

Transferring a public holiday has more information.

Scenarios

Sean is entitled to:

  • 5 hours at his normal Sunday rate of pay for the hours 7pm to 12am, and
  • at least time and a half of his regular pay (or average daily pay, if applicable) for the 3 hours he worked on Monday
  • an alternative holiday.

Tom gets:

  • 8 hours pay of at least time and a half, and
  • 2 alternative holidays (one each for Christmas and Boxing Day).

She works the same shift beginning on Christmas night, finishing at 6am on Boxing Day. Dianne gets:

  • 2 hours pay at ordinary time, and
  • 6 hours pay of at least time and a half for the first shift, and
  • 8 hours pay of at least time and a half for the second shift, and
  • 2 alternative holidays (one each for Christmas Day and Boxing Day).

Helen gets:

  • 2 hours pay of at least time and a half, and
  • 6 hours pay at the normal hourly rate, and
  • an alternative holiday.

Alternatively, Helen and her employer could agree to transfer the public holiday so that it covers one whole shift.

Employees on call

Public holiday entitlements for employees depend on the type of call-out arrangement.

If the employee:

  • is called out, they are entitled to at least time and a half for the time worked (plus a full day’s paid alternative holiday if they would have otherwise worked on that day).
  • has to limit their activities on the day to the extent that they haven’t enjoyed a full holiday, for example, if the employee is required to stay at home all day, but is not called out, the employee is entitled to a full day’s paid alternative holiday if they would have otherwise worked on that day.
  • is on call, but doesn’t have to limit activities, for example, if the employee can choose not to accept the call-out, then they only get an alternative holiday if they accept a call-out and they would have otherwise worked on that day (in this instance the employee would also get at least time and a half for the time they worked).
  • is on call but is not called out or chooses not to accept the call-out, but they would have otherwise worked on that day, they would be entitled to their relevant daily pay or average daily pay, for the public holiday.

This doesn’t apply to an employee who is employed only to be on call on public holidays.

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