It is enshrined in the law and the Awards that payday, once set, should not be varied without notice, but what about when the payday falls on a public holiday.  As the Easter period approaches it is important for all operators to review the requriements around payday changes and delays.

The Award or other employment instrument (Enterprise Agreement) should be reviewed when considering how to handle a payday that falls on a public holiday.

For fuel retail workers, the Vehicle Repair Service and Retail Award 2020,  outlines the preferred arrangement in clause 17.3.d “in a week in which a public holiday falls on the established pay day, wages will be paid if possible on the day prior to the public holiday”.

“This construction of the requirement as a preferred setting can cause some confusion”, explains ACAPMAs Elisha Radwanowski.

“The listing in the Award as a ‘preference’ means that the business should, if practical, use the preferred approach, but it is not in breach of the Award conditions if the preferred approach is not practical for the business to implement”, continued Elisha.

For fuel transport workers the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2020 is silent on treatment of public holidays, other than noting that a fixed payday cannot be changed more than once in 3 months.

For fuel admin staff the Clerks Private Sector Award 2020, is silent on the treatment of public holiday paydays, though it does note that for cash and cheque payments when an employee is offduty on a payday that employee is to receive their payment on the next work day, which is a concept that would also apply to public holiday paydays.

Some awards may not contain any clauses that tell an employer what to do when a public holiday occurs on a normal payday.

In these circumstances, an employer may decide to process the wages the day before the normal payday. If this is not possible, the employer should communicate with employees and inform them that due to the public holiday falling on the normal payday, employees will receive their wages the day after the normal payday.

Learnings for all businesses 

When a public holiday coincides with a payday the business should;

  • Check whether the award/agreement or employment contract specifies how wages should be processed in these circumstances, or whether they specify a day on which wages must be paid.
  • If the award/contract is silent on payment of wages coinciding with a day off, then work out internally what the business’ approach will be i.e., will the employees be paid the day before or the day after the normal payday?
  • Communicate that approach with employees to manage their expectations.

Here to Help

Through the year ACAPMA Employment Professionals are available to assist members via

This article is general in nature and covers things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by contacting one of ACAPMA Employment Professionals its free for members. ACAPMA membership is affordable at only $860 per year for a single site and valuable with sites gaining HR advice support and representation as well as a raft of other benefits and discounts.

Visit:   to apply for ACAPMA membership.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)