Christmas New Year public holiday employment arrangements

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The information on this page applies only to employers and employees in the WA state industrial relations system. The state system covers businesses which operate as sole traders, unincorporated partnerships, unincorporated trust arrangements as well as any incorporated association or not for profit bodies that are not trading or financial corporations. The Guide to who is the WA State System has more detail.

This information does not apply to any business which operates as a Pty Ltd business and is a trading or financial corporation nor to any incorporated association or not for profit body that is a trading or financial corporation. These businesses and organisations are in the national fair work system and should visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for information on employment laws.

The public holidays for the 2020–2021 Christmas New Year period are:

  • Christmas Day - Friday 25 December 2020
  • Boxing Day - Saturday 26 December 2020 and Monday 28 December 2020
  • New Year's Day, Friday 1 January 2021

When Boxing Day falls on a Saturday the next following Monday is also a public holiday under the Public and Bank Holidays Act, however employment entitlements for public holidays will vary based on an employee's award coverage and employment arrangements. 

Get the right information

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

  • Award free employees
  • Shop and Warehouse (Wholesale and Retail Establishments) Award employees
  • Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award employees
  • Hairdressers Award employees

If your WA award is one that has a Wageline WA award summary, check the WA award summary for details. For other WA awards, view your award on the WA Industrial Relations Commission website.

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

Please note Wageline will be closed from Friday 25 December 2020 to Friday 1 January 2021 and reopen on Monday 4 January 2021.

Award free employees

Overview

For award free employees:

  • Friday 25 December 2020 is the Christmas Day public holiday.
  • Saturday 26 December 2020 is the Boxing Day public holiday.
  • Friday 1 January 2021 is the New Year’s Day public holiday.

Monday 28 December 2020 is not considered a public holiday for award free employees under the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993.

Full time and part time employees

Award free full time and part time employees who would normally work on Friday 25 December 2020, Saturday 26 December 2020 and/or Friday 1 January 2021, but who are not required to work solely because it is a public holiday, are entitled to be paid for 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.

Visit the Minimum pay rates for award free employees page for minimum rates of pay. 

Casual employees

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

Visit the Minimum pay rates for award free employees page for minimum rates of pay. 

Shop and Warehouse (Wholesale and Retail Establishments) Award employees

Overview

Under the Shop and Warehouse Award:

  • Friday 25 December 2020 is the Christmas Day public holiday.
  • Monday 28 December 2020 is the Boxing Day public holiday, as under this WA award when Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the public holiday is observed on the following Monday.
  • Friday 1 January 2021 is the New Year’s Day public holiday.

If the business is trading on Saturday 26 December 2020 standard Saturday pay rates will apply, as this day is not considered a public holiday under the Shop and Warehouse Award.

Full time and part time employees

Full time and part time employees who would normally be required to work on one or more of the designated public holidays, but who are not required to work because it is a public holiday, are entitled to be paid for that day. If a full time or part time employee is required to work on one or more of these days, public holiday pay rates will apply. Public holiday pay rates are listed in the Shop and Warehouse Award WA award summary.  

The Shop and Warehouse Award provides that when any of the days that are public holidays under the WA award fall on a day that a full time or part time employee is usually required to work less than one fifth of their ordinary weekly hours of duty, the employee is entitled to time off duty without deduction of pay equivalent to the difference between the time usually worked on that day and one fifth of their ordinary weekly hours.

The following examples illustrate how this works.

Example 1

Sue Lee is a part time employee who works 25 hours per week. One fifth of Sue Lee’s ordinary weekly hours are therefore 5 hours (25 divided by 5). Sue Lee normally works on Wednesday (9 hours), Thursday (8 hours) and Saturday (8 hours) each week.

Friday 25 December 2020 is the Christmas Day public holiday under the Shop and Warehouse Award. As the public holiday falls on a day that Sue Lee is usually required to work less than one fifth of her weekly hours (in this case no hours) Sue Lee is entitled to paid time off duty equivalent to 5 hours. The time off duty represents the difference between the time she usually works on a Friday (0 hours) and one fifth of her ordinary weekly hours (5 hours).

Monday 28 December 2020 is the Boxing Day public holiday under the Shop and Warehouse Award. As the public holiday falls on a day that Sue Lee is usually required to work less than one fifth of her weekly hours (in this case no hours) Sue Lee is entitled to paid time off duty equivalent to 5 hours. The time off duty represents the difference between the time she usually works on a Monday (0 hours) and one fifth of her ordinary weekly hours (5 hours).

The time off duty may be taken at a time that is mutually agreed between the employer and employee, or it may be taken in conjunction with a period of annual leave.

Example 2

Jeremy is a part time employee who works 30 hours per week. One fifth of Jeremy’s ordinary hours is therefore 6 hours (30 divided by 5). Jeremy normally works 4 hours on a Friday.

Jeremy’s employer is closed on Friday 25 December 2020 (the Christmas Day public holiday under the Shop and Warehouse Award).  Jeremy is entitled to be paid for the 4 hours he would normally have worked on that Friday, and additionally, he is entitled to time off duty equivalent to 2 hours. The time off duty represents the difference between the time he ordinarily works on a Friday (4 hours) and one fifth of his ordinary weekly hours (6 hours).

The time off duty may be taken at a time that is mutually agreed between the employer and employee, or it may be taken in conjunction with a period of annual leave.

The Shop and Warehouse Award also provides that when a public holiday falls on an accrued day off (known as a ‘rostered day off’ under the award), an employee is to be compensated in one of the following methods by agreement between the employer and employee:

  • payment of an additional day’s wages, or
  • another day shall be allowed with pay within twenty eight days, or
  • have another day added to their annual leave entitlement

Example

Harriet works 19 days over a four week cycle (eight hours per day) and has a rostered day off every fourth Friday.

In 2021 the New Year’s Day public holiday under the Shop and Warehouse Award (Friday 1 January) falls on Harriet’s rostered day off. To compensate for this, Harriet and her employer can agree that Harriet:

  • receive payment of an additional day's wages, or
  • take another rostered day off within 28 days, or
  • have another day added to her annual leave entitlement.

Casual employees

Casual employees who are required to work on one or more days that are public holidays must be paid at public holiday rates. Casual employees under the Shop and Warehouse Award will be entitled to public holiday rates of pay on the following days:

  • Friday 25 December 2020
  • Monday 28 December 2020
  • Friday 1 January 2021

Public holiday pay rates for casual employees are listed in the Shop and Warehouse Award WA award summary

Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Award employees

Overview

Under the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award, when a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday the public holiday is observed on that actual day. This means that for the purposes of this WA award:

  • Friday 25 December 2020 is the Christmas Day public holiday
  • Saturday 26 December 2020 is the Boxing Day public holiday
  • Friday 1 January 2021 is the New Year’s Day public holiday

If the business is trading on Monday 28 December 2020, standard weekday rates of pay will apply, as this day is not considered a public holiday for the purposes of the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award.

Full time employees

Full time employees who would normally be required to work on one or more of the designated public holidays under the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award, but who are not required to work because it is a public holiday, are entitled to be paid for that day. If a full time employee is required to work on one or more of these days, public holiday pay rates will apply.

Public holiday pay rates for full time employees are listed in the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award WA award summary

If any public holiday under the Restaurant Tearoom and Catering Workers Award falls on an employee’s non-working day (referred to as a ‘rostered day off’), the public holiday is observed on the next rostered working day. In this situation the next rostered working day is considered to be a public holiday, while the non-working day is not. If the employee is required to work on the next rostered working day, they are entitled to be paid at public holiday rates of pay.

Example

Cassandra is a full time Chef who works from Saturday to Wednesday each week.

In 2020 the Christmas Day public holiday falls on Friday 25 December 2020. As this is a non-working day for Cassandra, the public holiday is observed on her next rostered working day. Cassandra is therefore entitled to a paid day off on Saturday 26 December 2020. If she is required to work on this day, public holiday pay rates will apply.

In 2020 the Boxing Day public holiday falls on Saturday 26 December 2020. For Cassandra this day is observed for the Christmas Day public holiday therefore Cassandra is entitled to a paid day off on her next rostered working day, which in this case will be Sunday 27 December 2020. If she is required to work on this day, public holiday pay rates will apply.

Part time employees

Part time employees who would normally be required to work on one or more of the designated public holidays under the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award, but who are not required to work because it is a public holiday, are entitled to be paid for that day. If a part time employee is required to work on a public holiday, public holiday pay rates will apply.

Public holiday pay rates for part time employees are listed in the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award WA award summary

If a part time employee would not normally be required to work on a designated public holiday, there are no additional public holiday entitlements.

Casual employees

Casual employees who are required to work on one or more days that are public holidays for the purposes of the Restaurant Tearoom and Catering Workers Award must be paid at public holiday rates. Casual employees will be entitled to public holiday rates of pay on the following days:

  • Friday 25 December 2020
  • Saturday 26 December 2020
  • Friday 1 January 2021

Public holiday pay rates for casual employees are listed in the Restaurant, Tearoom and Catering Workers Award WA award summary

Hairdressers Award employees

Overview

Under the Hairdressers Award:

  • Friday 25 December 2020 is the Christmas Day public holiday
  • Monday 28 December 2020 is the Boxing Day public holiday, as under this award when Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the public holiday is observed on the following Monday.
  • Friday 1 January 2021 is the New Year’s Day public holiday

Full time employees

Full time employees who would normally be required to work on one or more of the designated public holidays under the Hairdressers Award, but who are not required to work because it is a public holiday, are entitled to be paid for that day. If a full time employee is required to work on one or more of these days, public holiday pay rates will apply.

Public holiday pay rates for full time employees are listed in the Hairdressers Award WA award summary.

If a public holiday under the award falls on a full time employee’s non-working day (referred to as a ‘rostered day off’), then the rostered day off is to be taken on the employee’s next following working day, or, by mutual agreement, another day on the same week. Alternatively, the award allows the employer and employee to agree on the employee accumulating up to five rostered days off in any given year, which may be taken at a mutually agreed time.

Example 1

Nathan is a full time hairdresser and works Monday to Friday each week.

Under the Hairdressers Award the Christmas Day public holiday is Friday 25 December 2020, and the Boxing Day public holiday is observed on Monday 28 December 2020. As Friday and Monday are normal working days for Nathan, he is entitled to paid public holidays on those days. If he works on either of those days, public holiday pay rates will apply.

In 2021, New Year’s Day falls on a Friday. Under the Hairdressers Award the New Year’s Day public holiday is on Friday 1 January 2021. As Friday is a normal working day for Nathan, he is entitled to a paid public holiday on that day. If he works on that day public holiday pay rates will apply.

Example 2

Luke is a full time hairdresser who works on Saturday, Tuesday Wednesday and Friday each week (9.5 hours per day).

Under the Hairdressers Award the Christmas Day public holiday is Friday 25 December 2020. As Friday is a normal working day for Luke, he is entitled to a paid public holiday on that day. If he works on that day, public holiday pay rates will apply.

The Boxing Day public holiday is observed on Monday 28 December, a non-working day for Luke (i.e. a rostered day off). Therefore, Luke is entitled to another paid day off on his next working day, which is Tuesday 29 December 2020. Alternatively, Luke and his employer may agree the paid day off be taken at another mutually convenient time.

Under the Hairdressers Award the New Year’s Day public holiday is on Friday 1 January 2021. As Friday is a working day for Luke, he is entitled to a paid day off. If he works on that day, public holiday pay rates will apply.

Part time employees

Part time employees who would normally be required to work on one or more of the designated public holidays under the Hairdressers Award, but who are not required to work because it is a public holiday, are entitled to be paid for that day. If a part time employee is required to work on a public holiday, public holiday pay rates will apply.

Public holiday pay rates for part time employees are listed in the Hairdressers Award WA award summary.

If a part time employee would not normally be required to work on a designated public holiday, there are no additional public holiday entitlements.

Casual employees

Casual employees who are required to work on one or more days that are public holidays for the purpose of the Hairdressers Award must be paid at public holiday rates. Casual employees will be entitled to public holiday rates of pay on the following days:

  • Friday 25 December 2020
  • Monday 28 December 2020
  • Friday 1 January 2021

Public holiday pay rates for casual employees are listed in the Hairdressers Award WA award summary.

Retail Trading Hours For information on retail trading hours see the Consumer Protection section of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.

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