Easter, Anzac Day and the school holidays are about to arrive, and while holidays are meant to be relaxing, for employers it can be a problematic time. If juggling staff shortages and understanding these entitlements is a headache for you, don’t stress – this guide has you covered.

Let’s get started…

1. What are the Easter public holidays for 2024 in Australia?

Good Friday – 29 March 2024 All States and Territories
Easter Saturday – 30 March 2024 All States and Territories (except Tasmania & Western Australia)
Easter Sunday – 31 March 2024 All States and Territories (except Tasmania)
Easter Monday – 1 April 2024 All States and Territories
Easter Tuesday – 2 April 2024 Tasmania

Term 1 school holidays

Many of your employees will have kids and are likely to request time off work during the school holiday period. If an employee has the care or responsibility of a child who is school age or younger, then pursuant to the Fair Work Act, they may have a right to request a flexible working arrangement during the school holiday period, which an employer can only refuse on reasonable business grounds. In addition, if an employee makes a request for flexible working arrangements, there are positive obligations an employer must satisfy, including consulting with the employee, and failure to do so may result in significant fines and penalties.

The school holiday dates for each State and Territory are listed below:

State Dates
ACT Friday 12 April – Monday 29 April 2024. Kids go back to school  Tuesday 30 April 2024.
NSW Monday 15 April – Friday 26 April 2024. Kids go back Monday 29 April 2024.
NT Friday 5 April – Monday 15 April 2024. Kids go back Tuesday 16 April 2024
SA Friday 12 April – Sunday 28 April 2024. Kids go back Monday 29 April 2024.
QLD Saturday 1 April – Sunday 14 April 2024. Kids go back Monday 15 April 2024.
VIC Friday 29 March – Sunday 14 April 2024. Kids go back Monday 15 April 2024.

2. When does Anzac Day occur in 2024 in Australia?

Thursday, 25 April, in all states and territories.

3. How are public holidays paid?

You must pay a permanent employee their base rate of pay if they are absent for their ordinary hours of work on that day. This is known as a ‘public holiday not worked.’ An employee’s base rate is the rate of pay payable to the employee for their ordinary hours of work, excluding the following payments:

  1. incentive-based payments and bonuses;
  2. loadings;
  3. monetary allowances;
  4. overtime or penalty rates; and
  5. any other separately identifiable amounts.

If your employee doesn’t have ordinary hours of work falling on the public holiday, they wouldn’t be entitled to payment. Instead, they simply get to enjoy the day like any other. However, it should be noted that as an employer you cannot temporarily alter rosters to avoid paying public holiday pay.

4. If an employee works a public holiday, what exactly should they get paid?

Incentives to work are created for some employees when public holidays come up. These penalties depend upon which modern award or Enterprise Agreement (EA) applies to the employee in question.

The award or EA will set out what public holiday rates apply for work on a public holiday, and whether employees are entitled to any additional benefits such as a guaranteed number of working hours on the public holiday.

Look at the General Retail Industry Award 2020, for example, under which permanent and casual employees are to be paid 225 per cent and 250 per cent of the minimum hourly rate, respectively.

5. An employee is on leave when a public holiday happens. How much should they get paid?

Some staff will happen to be on annual leave during a public holiday. This public holiday doesn’t count as leave. Therefore, the day should not be deducted from the employee’s annual leave balance and the employee is entitled to payment for their ordinary hours of work for that day at their base rate of pay.

6. Can I request my employee to work on a public holiday?

An employer is able to request their employee work on a public holiday, if the request is reasonable. When determining whether an employer’s request for work on a public holiday is reasonable, the following is taken into account:

  1. the nature of the employer’s workplace or enterprise(including its operational requirements), and the nature of the work performed by the employee;
  2. the employee’s personal circumstances, including family responsibilities;
  3. whether the employee reasonably expect that the employer might request work on the public holiday;
  4. whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime payments, penalty rates or other compensation for, or a level of remuneration that reflects an expectation of, work on the public holiday;
  5. the type of employment of the employee (for example, whether full-time, part-time, casual or shift work); and
  6. the amount of notice in advance of the public holiday given by the employer when making the request.

An employee is only allowed to refuse an employer’s request to work on a public holiday if the refusal is reasonable taking into consideration the factors listed above.

enableHR is here to help with dates, management, and Employee Self-Service to take the pressure off you

We know that managing people can be a juggle for business leaders; it’s time-consuming and challenging. Luckily enableHR makes workflows intuitive to free up brain power so you can do what you do best: running a business. If you need a guide to last-minute leave requests from your employees, simply click through.

From powerful HRIS software that uses workflows and checklists to guide you through smart to legally compliant HR and WHS processes and which stores all your employee records securely, you’ll have everything at your fingertips to ensure your business is 100 per compliant. Plus, you’ll gain invaluable time allowing you to focus on more important things, like building a culture of high performance.

If you’d like to see enableHR in action, contact us to learn more about how we can help your business.