Many workers may wish to substitute formally recognised public holidays for days that better reflect culturally and religiously diverse days of significance.
Public Holidays are an entitlement under the National Employment Standards (NES) and employees have the right to be absent from work on a day or part-day that is a public holiday. Employees are protected from adverse action for reasonably refusing to work on a public holiday.
However many Awards and Enterprise Agreements, but not all, also include provisions which allow an employee and employer to agree to substitute a public holiday for another day.
Businesses should also be encouraged to make public holidays more inclusive to ensure that all cultural and religious beliefs are welcomed in the workplace. Where an employer regularly requires staff to work on a public holiday, this may also assist in
If a public holiday is substituted for another day, generally, the originally public holiday will be treated as an ordinary day of work, and all public holiday entitlements (including but not limited to penalty rates) will attach to the substituted day only.
What to consider before requesting a substitute day?
- Check that your Award or Agreement allows you to substitute public holidays. Your Union office can assist you in finding the relevant industrial instrument.
- Submit your request in advance including any cultural or religious reasons for your request.
- Agreement must be reached between you as an individual employee and your employer and it is likely your employer will also consider any operational implications.
- Ensure that the date of the substitute holiday is confirmed in writing along with details of payment and penalty rates.
Need further advice or support?
If you need advice or support regarding public holidays or if you believe your request has been unreasonably denied, please contact us at (03) 9342 3300 or email@example.com
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Related article: Your rights to work (or not work) public holidays