Today is “Go Home on Time Day” aimed at all Australians in the workforce. The day was created in 2009 by The Australian Institute (TAI)...
Public HolidaysJanuary 20, 2017
It is common that as Australia Day approaches, many people are excited to enjoy a day off from work. However as a business owner, a public holiday may be no time to rest.
Whether your business operates over the Australia Day public holiday or shuts down, it is important to be prepared. It is important to know when public holidays are because employees can get different entitlements on these days.
So, here is the ultimate Australia Day guide for business owners.
Australia day is observed nationally and annually on 26 January. If Australia Day falls on a weekend, the following working day may be considered a public holiday depending on the state or territory.
Depending on the state or territory of operation, there may be laws that impose restricted trading days. There are some businesses that are exempt – they can open whenever they wish throughout the year. It is important to check however generally the types of business that are exempt may include:
Full-time and part-time employees who normally would have worked on the day that Australia Day falls are entitled to have a day off and be paid their base pay rate. Casual employees are entitled to take the day off but they are not entitled to be paid on that day.
If an employee is covered by an Award or Agreement, and they work on Australia day, they may be entitled to extra pay called a penalty rate, a different day off, or an extra day added to their annual leave.
Employers may ask employees to work on Australia Day, but only if the request is reasonable. In the same manner, employees may refuse to work on Australia day if their refusal is reasonable.
During periods of annual leave or sick leave, employees are still entitled to their Australia Day entitlements. The annual leave and sick leave balance should not be reduced for the day that Australia Day occurs.
Some years, Australia Day falls on a weekday and some employees may choose to take extra days off during the week to have an extended period of time off. At the Employers expense, employees may take a strategic sickie in the lead up to the public holiday.
Aside from the cost of paying out a sick day, the impact on small businesses Australia wide could be significant, particularly if calling in sick means the business cannot function, resulting in lost revenue or for some businesses poor reviews and dissatisfied customers.
– have employees produce a medical certificate for any day taken as a sick day. If you do not follow this procedure then ensure you do for any day taken either side of a public holiday
– direct any employee to phone their manager prior to a certain time to announce they are sick. Do not accept text messages, emails or voice messages
– upon your employee’s return to work, perform a return to work meeting to make sure the employee is suitable for work and can carry out their responsibilities
– specify in your policy that non-genuine absence will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action
– explain that excessive levels of absences affect the businesses ability to operate and you have the right to investigate further should re-occurrences continue
If you have any questions on how to prevent sick days or managing employees once they return to work, call us today on 1300 651 415. We are available to advise you on all and employment and work health and safety requirements.
Happy Australia Day.