Whiddon Redhead: Your rights around public holidays

HSU members have reported they are being forced to work public holidays with little or no consultation. Members have stated they are told to do so because they are “essential workers”.

A recent decision from the Federal Court confirmed that employers should request if they want their employees to work public holidays, as opposed to just rostering them to work.

What are reasonable grounds for requesting or refusing to work on a public holiday?

In determining whether an employer’s request or an employee’s refusal to work on a public holiday is reasonable, the following should be taken into account:

  • The nature of the workplace (including operational requirements) and the nature of the work performed by the employee.
  • The employee’s personal circumstances, including family responsibilities.
  • Whether the employee could reasonably expect that the employer might request work on the public holiday.
  • Whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime payments, penalty rates, or other extra payments to compensate them for working on the public holiday.
  • The type of employment (for example, full-time, part-time, casual or shiftwork).
  • The amount of notice in advance of the public holiday given by the employer or the employee, when making or refusing the request.
  • Any other relevant matter

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact HSU Organiser Andrew Tran on mobile 0417 115 622 or email [E-Mail not displayed].

Do you know someone who isn’t an HSU member? Encourage them to join our Union today and have a say at work. We are always stronger when we stand together.

New members can join at www.hsu.asn.au/join or call 1300 478 679.