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Public Holidays, Annual Leave & Your Business

The holiday season approaches, and with it comes a number of public holidays (each one right after the other). It can be a busy time of the year for many, and with many employees potentially planning to take time off around the holiday period, scheduling can become a bit of an issue. 

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that you do the right thing for your employees when it comes to holidays and pays.

Some establishments may remain open during holidays for trading (such as those in retail or hospitality). In that event, employers may ask staff to conduct business operations as usual.

Requesting Staff To Work

If your business is open during a public holiday, you may ask your staff to work if required. However, an employee is able to refuse the request if it is considered to be unreasonable. 

According to Fair Work Australia, a reasonable request to work should consider:

  • The nature and needs of the workplace
  • The personal circumstances of the employee
  • Whether the employee will receive more pay for the work (i.e. double time)
  • The type of work involved
  • Whether their salary includes work on a public holiday
  • Their employment status (full-time, part-time, casual)
  • How much notice is given with regards to working on a public holiday
  • The notice an employee gives when refusing to work on a public holiday

Pay For Public Holiday Hours

Most employees are entitled to penalty rates for working on a public holiday. These are set by the award or enterprise agreement the employee is under. 

Some awards and agreements allow staff and employers to agree to substitute the public holiday for a different day, get time off in lieu, or have a day added to their annual leave balance.

When a public holiday falls on a day or part-day that an employee would usually work, you must pay the employee their base rate of pay for their ordinary hours of work. Normal requirements and relevant penalty rates are in effect.

Public holidays that fall on an employee’s paid leave do not get treated as annual leave; the day is still treated as a public holiday and the employee must be paid at least their base rate of pay for the day.

Maintaining compliance with the requirements of holiday pay for your workers is one of your responsibilities as their employer. You do not have the automatic right to terminate your employees if they refuse to work on a public holiday though, and must remember this in your interactions with your staff. 

Taking Leave Over The Closedown

You may instruct your employees to take annual leave for the remaining days during the shutdown period but cannot compel your employees to take it. However, an employee cannot unreasonably refuse your request to take annual leave if they have accumulated it over a long period.

Employees that have not accrued enough leave to cover the holiday period can arrange with their employers to take leave in advance or unpaid. Workers who do not agree to this arrangement cannot be forced by an employer to take unpaid leave unless the industry award allows them to. If not, employers will have to pay workers at a normal rate for the period of the shutdown.

Want to be certain that you are maintaining your obligations as an employer when it comes to your staff’s pay arrangements? Review your employee’s employment contract and understand both their’s and your holiday rights and obligations well in advance of the holiday season.  

Start the conversation with us today for further business planning strategies to get ahead in 2022. 

If you’re someone who often finds it difficult to make large lump sum payments for goods or services, you may want to consider looking into “Buy Now Pay Later” services.

Buy now pay later essentially means that, rather than paying in a full lump sum payment for a product or services rendered, there may be an option to pay through instalments of a certain amount over a set period to make the sum of the full amount in total. This method should allow you to pay in full for the product or service without overly straining your finances – you pay back what you can, as agreed upon when you begin the buy now pay later service.

Some popular buy now pay later services include Afterpay, Zip Pay, Brightepay, and some credit card networks such as  Mastercard and Visa, can offer buy now pay later arrangements.

Though it can be a convenient, immediate solution, it may be challenging to juggle the necessary repayments with other financial commitments. It’s not always the most appropriate method for people, and you should bear in mind your situation and ability in paying back the amounts. 

Before you sign up, keep in mind: 

  • It becomes easier to overspend with buy now pay later services, so know your limits on what you can and can’t afford.
  • You will be charged fees and costs to use the service, which can add up to a princely sum in and of itself.
  • Keeping track of your payments can be tricky if you’ve signed up for multiple services.
  • It could affect your loan applications for a car or mortgage as lenders consider buy now pay later spending just as much as your credit score.
  • Late repayments can appear on your credit report, which affects your ability to borrow money in the future.
  • Layby can be a cheaper alternative to buy now pay later, with no account-keeping or late fees to consider

If you are someone who could make use of BNPL services, you may wish to:

  • Ensure that when using the BNPL service, you stick to a set limit on what you spend so that you can comfortably pay it back later. 
  • Aim only to have one BNPL account at a time to manage payments through, rather than confuse yourself with multiple payments across different providers.
  • Always budget for bills, loan payments and BNPL payments, and 
  • Rather than use your credit card for payments to your BNPL account, consider linking to your debit account instead.

If you would like assistance in planning your financial future, help in managing your budget or some friendly advice, see us for a chat about what we can do for you.


What our Client Say

John Briggs

Jane Noller has been my accountant for the last 15 plus years. I can testify to Jane’s professionalism and expeditious manner in dealing with the day to day issues that surrounds our business accounting.

John Briggs

Registered Building Certifier

David and Alison Parker

I have been consulting J L Noller and Co. (more specifically Jane) for six years and during this time I have found her to be professional, efficient and easy to discuss all accounting and taxation matters with. Her office team are all polite and friendly also.

David and Alison Parker

Business Owner

Carl Gillmore

I have used Jane & the team for the last 6 years for all of my business & personal accounting needs. They have always been professional, easy to talk to & available when we have needed assistance.

Carl Gillmore

Carl Gillmore Landscape

John Briggs

Jane Noller has been my accountant for the last 15 plus years. I can testify to Jane’s professionalism and expeditious manner in dealing with the day to day issues that surrounds our business accounting.

John Briggs

Registered Building Certifier