Boxing Day public holiday arrangements in the WA industrial relations system

Information status

All announcements issued prior to 1 July 2017 were issued by the former Department of Commerce. Announcements listed here are the latest versions available, but may be subject to review. For more information on this announcement, please contact online@dmirs.wa.gov.au.

This announcement is for: 
EmployerEmployee / worker

The public holidays for the 2015-16 Christmas - New Year period are:

  • Christmas Day, Friday 25 December 2015
  • Boxing Day, Saturday 26 December 2015/Monday 28 December 2015
  • New Year’s Day, Friday 1 January 2016

This year, Boxing Day falls on a Saturday. Under the Public and Bank Holidays Act, if Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the next following Monday is also a public holiday.

However, which day is the public holiday in terms of an employee’s pay and working arrangements will depend on their specific employment arrangements.

Employers covered by a WA award should check the award for details on public holidays and payment arrangements. Some WA awards require that the public holiday rates of pay only apply on the Monday as a ‘substitute’ public holiday.  Other WA awards provide for public holiday rates only on the Saturday.   For award free employees, only the Saturday is considered a public holiday.  

Regardless of which day is the ‘official’ public holiday, it should be noted that most awards specify that full time and part time employees are entitled to work, and to be paid for, a minimum number of ordinary hours per week (often 38 hours in the case of full time employees, and a lesser number of hours for part time employees as determined by their contract of employment).  If a business is closed, permanent employees will still need to be paid for the number of hours they would ordinarily work if the business was open, whether or not the day in question is considered a public holiday under the applicable award.

Get the right information

An overview is provided below of the public holiday arrangements for:

  • award free employees
  • Shop and Warehouse Award
  • Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award
  • Hairdressers Award

If your WA award is one of the top 40 awards, check the relevant WA award summary for details.

For other awards, view your award on the WA Industrial Relations Commission website.

Wageline is available on 1300 655 266 to answer public holiday questions.

Award free employees in the State system 

For award free employees, Saturday 26 December is the Boxing Day public holiday.

Award free full time and part time employees who would normally work Saturday, but do not work solely because the business is closed due to the public holiday, are entitled to be paid as if they were required to work that day.

There are no minimum entitlements to additional rates of pay for working on a public holiday for award free employees. However, award free employees may have contracts of employment which specify other arrangements for payment and paid time off for public holidays.

If the business chooses not to trade on Monday, employers may still have a contractual obligation to pay full time and part time employees for the hours they would normally have worked if the business was open.

Shop and Warehouse Award

Under the Shop and Warehouse Award, when Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the public holiday is observed on the next Monday. This means that Monday 28 December is considered the public holiday for this award. 

If the business is not trading on Monday due to the public holiday, part time and full time employees who would normally be required to work are entitled to a paid day off work.

If the business is trading on Monday, public holiday rates will apply.

If the business is trading on Saturday, standard Saturday rates under the WA award will apply.

If the business chooses not to trade on Saturday, employers still have an obligation to pay full time and part time employees for the hours they would normally have worked if the business was open.

Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award

Under the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award, when Boxing Day falls on a Saturday the public holiday is observed on the actual day. This means that Saturday 26 December is the public holiday for the purposes of payment for employees covered by this award.  

If the business is trading on Saturday 26 December, public holiday rates will apply.

If the business is not trading on the Saturday due to the public holiday, part time and full time employees who would normally be required to work are entitled to a paid day off work.

If the business is trading on Monday, standard weekday rates under the WA award will apply.

If the business chooses not to trade on Monday, employers still have an obligation to pay full time and part time employees for the hours they would normally have worked if the business was open.

Hairdressers Award

Under the Hairdressers Award, when Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the public holiday is observed on the next Monday. This means that Monday 28 December is considered the public holiday for this award. 

If the business is not trading on Monday due to the public holiday, part time and full time employees who would normally be required to work are entitled to a paid day off work.

If the business is trading on Monday, public holiday rates will apply.

If the business is trading on Saturday, standard Saturday rates under the WA award will apply.

If the business chooses not to trade on Saturday, employers still have an obligation to pay full time and part time employees for the hours they would normally have worked if the business was open.

Important!

This information applies to businesses in the state industrial relations system. It covers businesses which operate as:

  • sole traders (eg Jane Smith trading as Jane’s Beauty Salon),
  • partnerships (eg Jane and Bob Smith trading as Jane’s Beauty Salon)
  • unincorporated trust arrangements (Jane and Bob Smith as trustees for Jane’s Beauty Salon).

This information does not cover businesses and organisations in the national system which operate as:

  • Pty Ltd businesses (that are trading or financial corporations)
  • incorporated associations and other non-profit bodies (that are trading or financial corporations)

If the business or organisation is a national system employer visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website: www.fairwork.gov.au for information on public holiday payment arrangements.

Trading hours

Retail trading restrictions apply on Christmas Day. For information see the Consumer Protection website

Labour Relations
Alert
25 Nov 2015

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