Once again, 2021 has been a huge year for everyone, a year that has given us many challenges and changes to manage.   There have been significant changes to employment law throughout the year, as well as changes to how we manage the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As we say goodbye to 2021 and prepare to welcome in 2022, we would like to take this opportunity to give a big thank you to all of you, our valued clients, colleagues and on-line followers for your continued support during 2021.  It has been our pleasure to work with you and support your business in managing all of your employment law matters. The HR Law team look forward to continuing to support and work with you in 2022.

We trust that our newsletters, seminars, webinars and LinkedIn posts throughout the year have kept you up to date with the issues facing employers and the many changes made in the employment law space.  We understand that each individual employer has their own unique needs and challenges, so please continue to reach out to us if you are in need of specific advice. Further, if there is any particular webinar topic you would like the HR Law team to present on, please let us know.  We want to present on topics which matter to you.

If you are not already connected with us and you would like to keep up to date with topical employment law matters and what HR Law is up to, please follow us on LinkedIn and subscribe to our email updates. We also post articles regularly on our website. Please email us at and we will make sure we add you to our mailing list.

The team at HR Law would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  We hope you all have a safe and relaxing festive season and spend time catching up with your loved ones.

But before we finish deciding which coloured tinsel goes best with the table decor, there are some other important matters to consider at this time of year…

Are employees paid for public holidays when they are on annual leave?

If an employee is on annual leave and a public holiday falls on a day that the employee would have normally worked, then yes, the employee is paid their ordinary rate of pay and no deduction is made to their annual leave balance.

Are public holidays for the whole day?

Some States and Territories have provision for part-day public holidays.  For example, South Australia has a part-day public holiday between 7.00pm and midnight on 31 December 2021 for New Year’s Eve whilst Queensland has a part-day public holiday between 6.00pm and midnight on 24 December 2021 for Christmas Eve. 

What do I pay employees when they work public holidays?

An employee’s relevant modern award or industrial instrument will set out the applicable rates of pay for working public holidays.  Employers are reminded that if they engage employees on a salary arrangement, the employer must ensure that the employee’s wage is set at a rate that compensates for working any public holidays.  

Can I ask the employee to work on a public holiday?

An employer can ask an employee to work on a public holiday, if the request is reasonable.  An employee may refuse to work a public holiday on reasonable grounds.  What may be considered a reasonable refusal may include:

  • the employee’s personal circumstances (for example family responsibilities);
  • the needs of the workplace;
  • whether the employee will get more pay (for example penalty rates);
  • the type of work;
  • whether the employee’s salary includes working on a public holiday;
  • whether the employee is full-time, part-time, casual or a shiftworker;
  • how much notice was given to the employee about working; and
  • the amount of notice the employee gives that they refuse to work.

Employers are advised to check the relevant modern award or industrial instrument for public holiday provisions and/or call us to discuss your business’ unique circumstances.

Office Closure

Please be advised our offices will be closed from 12.00 noon Thursday 23 December 2021 until 8.00am Monday 10 January 2022.

HR Law understands that your business may not stop during the Christmas and New Year period and in most cases, business only gets busier.   That is why HR Law is here to assist you during this busy time, so if you have an urgent query, please send an email to

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