Monday, 19 April 2021

ANZAC Day 2021 – what do employers need to know?

Is Monday, 26 April 2021 a paid day off work?

Often when a public holiday falls on a weekend, the public holiday is substituted for an alternate day (the following Monday or Tuesday). For example, this year Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, so Monday, 27 December 2021 will be observed as the public holiday (and Boxing Day, which would fall on a Sunday, will be observed on Tuesday, 28 December 2021).

However, this is not automatically the case with ANZAC Day – which is considered a day of remembrance. Rather, each state and territory makes the decision to substitute the day individually.

The following states and territory will be substituting the public holiday for ANZAC Day on Monday, 26 April 2021:

  • Queensland;
  • South Australia; and
  • Northern Territory.

The following states will not substitute the public holiday as ANZAC Day will be observed on Sunday, 25 April 2021:

  • Victoria;
  • New South Wales; and
  • Tasmania.

In the following state and territory both Sunday, both 25 April and Monday, 26 April are observed as public holidays this year.

  • Western Australia; and
  • the Australian Capital Territory.

What do I need to pay my employees if the business closes for the public holiday?

If a business does not trade on a Sunday on which the public holiday is observed, no further payments are required to be made to employees.

However, if a business trades on the public holiday, and the business is closed for all or part of the day due to the public holiday, then employees should be paid their base rate of pay for what would have been their ordinary hours of work for that day.

Also, employers need to check any specific obligations contained in their Enterprise Agreements that may have provisions for a mandated substituted day off work or additional payments.

Can I make my employees work on a public holiday?

As with all public holidays, employers are entitled to reasonably request employees to work on a public holiday. Employees, however, can refuse to work on a public holiday if the refusal is reasonable. While there are a number of considerations that must be taken into account to determine if a request or refusal to work a public holiday is reasonable, this will generally be based upon the employee’s personal circumstances and/or the amount of notice provided to the employee.

If an employee works on a public holiday, that employee will be entitled to public holiday penalty rates in accordance with the applicable Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement (for states/territories where the public holiday is observed on a Saturday, this will generally apply instead of the weekend rate).

If you require assistance regarding your obligations this coming ANZAC Day, contact HR Legal.


This article was produced by HR Legal. It is intended to provide general information only in summary format on legal issues. It does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on as such.