What about no-shows?
The 2021 Australia Day holiday on Tuesday could pose another issue for employers: what if employees don’t show up for work on the Monday, effectively gifting themselves a four-day weekend?
If they don’t have a valid reason for taking the Monday off, should they be paid for the Australia Day public holiday?
The answer is yes. While an unauthorised absence before or after a public holiday might be grounds for taking disciplinary action, an employee would still be entitled to payment for a public holiday that fell on a day the employee normally works.
Under the Fair Work Act (s116), Australia Day is listed as a public holiday for the purposes of the National Employment Standards. It is also a declared public holiday under the relevant state and territory public holidays legislation.
The Fair Work Act states an employee is paid at their ‘base rate of pay’ for their ordinary hours of work on a day when absent from work on a public holiday. Base rate of pay is an employee’s ordinary rate of pay excluding incentive-based payments and bonuses, loadings, monetary allowances, overtime or penalty rates or any other separately identifiable amounts.
This means an employee is entitled to payment for a public holiday absence if the employee would ordinarily have worked that day.
While unauthorised absence before or after a public holiday may be grounds for taking disciplinary action, an employee would still be entitled to payment for a public holiday that falls on a day the employee normally works.