Late this week Queensland gazetted a new public holiday, a part day from 6pm to midnight on Christmas Eve.  Queensland is not the first to declare the part day public holiday, but with less than a month until the new holiday happens, the late change to the list of gazetted holidays is causing some confusion for Queensland businesses. 

Most employees have their employment conditions provided and covered through the modern Award system.  While some Awards provide differing rates for particular days (such as a Christmas or Easter Sunday rate) most do not list out all of the public holidays, and instead make reference to “public holidays are provided for by the NES” which is wording that allows for all new public holidays declared at a State or National level, to automatically apply without any change being made to the Award itself.

“Public Holidays always present a challenge, particularly in the setting of retail and wholesale rosters, the late addition of a new public holiday is problematic, as most businesses will have already circulated Christmas rosters before this week to ensure staffing and customer service levels, so late addition is the first challenge.  But part day public holidays present a further challenge.  The Awards that apply to wholesale and retail fuel staff have clauses that provide direction on the provision and payment of a part day public holiday and specifically limit this to between 7pm and midnight.  As the part day public holiday for Christmas Eve that has been gazetted in Queensland is from 6pm to midnight, this discrepancy is adding to the confusion of what is a late addition of a public holiday to most rosters.  ACAPMA is seeking clarification and update to the Award to ensure the full and part day instructions align with each other and the NES.  Such change is likely to be slow in coming and ACAPMA is advising all members to follow the principles outlined in the relevant sections of the Award, but to ensure they are applying these principles to the entirety of the gazetted public holiday – from 6pm to midnight.” Explained ACAPMA Executive Manager for Employment and Training Mrs Elisha Radwanowski.

ACAPMA advises all businesses to familiarise themselves with he requirements around public holidays, and to do so soon.

Queensland business operators should visit: https://www.qld.gov.au/recreation/travel/holidays/public for more on the public holidays in Queensland

This means the business should ensure that it is recognising the employees right to not work during that time, and to receive no loss of pay if they choose not to work when they were typically rostered on to work at that time.  Furthermore the business should ensure that anyone that works during that time receives the appropriate penalty rate for all hours worked.  These are the Public Holiday Basics, for more on the basics, see; https://acapmag.com.au/2019/11/hr-highlight-public-holidaystis-the-season/

ACAPMA Members are reminded that they are able to contact ACAPMAs Employment Professionals for advice and assistance via employment@acapma.com.au or 1300 160 270

Award Review

Service Station Site Staff

Fuel Transport Staff

Clerical and Support Staff