Upcoming Public Holidays and Payments

Everyone loves the 4-day Easter long weekend, especially when it’s closely followed by two more public holidays for Anzac Day and Labour Day (Qld).

While we are all looking forward to a well-earned break, there are a few things all employers should be considering and planning for right now.

Here's our top things to consider:

In Queensland, Good Friday, the Day After Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are public holidays. This is from the 29th of March to the 1st of April 2024, inclusive.

Queensland also has the following public holidays closely after Easter:

  • Thursday 25th April 2024 – Anzac Day
  • Monday 6th May 2024 – Labour Day (Qld)

Generally, employees should be paid for the public holiday if it is a day they usually work (excluding casuals), or penalty rates usually apply if an employee works. Be sure to check the Award or Agreement applicable to your team to get the payments right.

Please note that the public holiday dates vary between states so if you have employees in other states, be sure to check this page here for dates that apply in other locations.

2. CHANGES TO PUBLIC HOLIDAYS - don't assume employees will work

On the 28th of March 2023, the Federal Court changed the way in which employers can require employees to work on public holidays. The decision came out of CFMMEU v OS MCAP Pty Ltd [2023] FCAFC 51 and impacts all employers who roster employees to work public holidays.

The decision requires that employers must request that employees work on a public holiday – a failure to request that the public holiday be worked could result working on the public holiday being unlawful. It is no longer possible to simply roster an employee to work the public holiday, assume they are accepting of this and consider the matter closed.

If an employer requests an employee to work on a public holiday, the employee may refuse the request if:

  • the request is not reasonable; or
  • the refusal is reasonable.

An employer can, of course, have a roster which includes public holidays. However, just publishing a roster does not constitute a request, therefore the employer must ensure its employees understand either:

  • the roster is in draft requesting those employees who have been allocated to work on the public holiday are to indicate whether they accept or refuse that allocation, or
  • where a request is made before the roster is finalised.

Equally, an employment agreement may contain a provision suggesting employees may be asked to work on public holidays where the request is reasonable and a refusal unreasonable.


Whether you will be open or closed for the public holidays, now is the time to let your team know the business’s intentions. This is crucial, especially if you are requesting employees to work on public holidays.

After the CFMMEU case and the Federal Court decision, it has reiterated that employers and employees must have a clear understanding of the regulations and best practices for managing schedules during Public Holiday periods.

Employers should establish clear processes for:

  • communicating with employees ahead of time when the business is requesting, they work a public holiday;
  • documenting the acceptance or refusal to the employer’s request;
  • responding to employee refusals;
  • resourcing plans when employees are unable to work on public holidays.

Note that currently, employers cannot rely on contracts or enterprise agreements terms requiring an employee to work on a public holiday.

Further, employers relying upon rostering for the upcoming public holidays will need to ensure communications are issued to employees confirming that any roster to work is a request to work that can be refused by the employees (if that refusal is reasonable). The communication should also indicate the roster is, in effect, a draft roster until any responses to the request have been received.


If you usually process payroll on a day where one of the upcoming public holidays fall (Monday, Thursday or Friday), consider whether you need to make alternative arrangements (for example, processing a day early). Be sure to communicate any changes with your team ahead of time.


You should ensure these employees remain better off when compared to the Award or Agreement that applies to them (considering the penalty rates that would ordinarily apply on a public holiday).

Reach out to the Edwards HR team if you need help with calculations or to ensure your IFA’s are correct for your arrangements.

Where to Get Help

If you would like advice about how the upcoming public holidays or would like to understand how we can support your compliance and risk mitigation efforts, Edwards HR are more than happy to help – please contact our team on 07 3568 0866.

You can read Edwards HR’s other Quick Guides and employer updates on our website: https://www.edwardshr.com.au/latest-news/

Stay up to date with all the upcoming changes via our LinkedIn Newsletter below.

For more guidance about this update, or to find out how Edwards HR can support your business, contact our team today on 07 3568 0866.

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