Public Holiday Exchange
Did you know that many Awards allow for an Employer and an Employee to agree to exchange a gazetted public holiday for another day?
Using this mechanism in your applicable Award is a great way to honour the diversity within your team and recognise important cultural dates and events; making your workplace a more respectful and inclusive environment. You may even decide to celebrate their cultural or religious event with them!
For example, one of your employees celebrates Diwali (Festival of Lights), which is a Hindu, Sikh and Jain Festival that will be celebrated around November each year. Your employee does not celebrate Christmas and is happy to work through the Christmas period; so you agree that they will substitute two days in November when Diwali is celebrated for Christmas Day and Boxing Day and you record this agreement in writing.
This means that the employee will be able to take the two days off in November off and receive payment for their ordinary hours for those days. When Christmas and Boxing Days come around, they will work these days and will be paid as if these were ordinary days, not a public holiday. Where either or both of these days are a Saturday and Sunday, the employee will still be entitled to any applicable penalties that would usually apply to them for working a Saturday or Sunday, but they will not be eligible for public holiday rates, as for them, these are no longer public holidays.
The Fair Work Ombudsman website has information about public holidays and how to manage these with your team.
If you are not sure what Award applies to your employees or how to go about setting up a public holiday substitution, we are here to help.