Penalty Rates and the Easter Weekend

Penalty Rates and the Easter Weekend


Easter is just days away and many of us will be downing tools for some precious moments of reflection and connection.

To make sure the public holidays don’t cause any headaches back at work, we’ve put together a quick guide to help managers navigate penalty rates during this period.

  • Permanent employees are entitled to be absent from work on a public holiday and be paid at their base rate of pay where they would ordinarily work the day that the Public Holiday falls on.
  • Casual employees are not entitled to be paid unless they work on the day of the public holiday.
  • Be sure to check the correct penalty rate payable if a Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement applies to an employee.
  • Employees on leave without pay are not entitled to pay for a public holiday, because they would not have ordinary hours of work on that day (given that they have approval to be absent from work).
  • If an employee is absent on a period of paid personal/carer’s leave and would ordinarily work on the day the public holiday occurs, then they will not be taken to be on personal/carer’s leave that day and will be entitled to be paid for that public holiday. The same applies for employees on annual leave and long service leave. That is, a public holiday should be paid as such and not deducted from their available balance of leave.
  • Employers can request that an employee attends work on a public holiday, however the employee may refuse a request if they have reasonable grounds to do so. Determining what is reasonable is based on a number of factors such as:
    • the employee’s personal circumstances including family responsibilities;
    • the amount of notice given by the employer; and
    • whether the level of remuneration reflects an expectation of work on the public holiday (ie. whether they will receive penalty rates).


If you have an enquiry relating to public holidays, we encourage you to get in touch with us so that an Employment Relations Specialist can assist you.  Call CCER on 9390 5255 or email

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