News & Thinking
To Mondayise or not to Mondayise, that is the festive season question…
It’s hard to believe it’s almost Christmas again and yet last Christmas feels like an eternity ago. This year Christmas, Boxing Day, New Years and 2nd January public holidays will fall over the weekend and will, in some cases, need to be transferred to the following Monday and Tuesday. It’s been more than a decade since both holidays fell over the weekend so you might be forgiven for forgetting how the transfer works.
The Holidays Act states that:
- where the Saturday is not otherwise a working day for the employee the public holiday will transfer to the Monday; and
- where the Sunday is not otherwise a working day for the employee the public holiday will transfer to the following Tuesday.
If an employee is a Monday to Friday worker it’s easy, their Christmas and New Year public holidays will transfer to the following Monday and Tuesday. But when you apply the transfer provisions across a workforce with varying days of work, it can become more complicated.
The first thing you will need to do is determine for each employee what days will be treated as public holidays for them. Whether or not a day is a public holiday for the employee will determine whether the employee is entitled to a paid day off or, if they work, time and a half and possibly an alternative holiday.
To decide whether you need to transfer the public holidays to the following Monday or Tuesday, you will need to determine whether the relevant Saturday or Sunday is not otherwise a working day for the employee. If it is not clear whether the day is otherwise a working day or not for the employee, you should consider the following factors:
- the employee’s employment agreement
- the employee’s work patterns
- whether the employee works only when work is available
- rosters and schedules
- whether you expected the employee to work on the day concerned
Depending on the employee’s work schedule, they may observe their public holidays on any combination of the 4 days between Saturday and Tuesday and on different days than others working around them. However, employees are not entitled to more than a maximum of up to 4 days (out of the 8 days) recognised as public holidays.
If you are required to transfer the public holiday, you will then also need to consider whether the day the public holiday is transferred to (e.g. the Monday or Tuesday) is otherwise a working day for the employee to determine what their entitlements are on the transferred days. If the day is not otherwise a working day for the employee it is not treated as a public holiday for them, even though that day might be the actual Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years’ Day or 2nd January. This means that they will not be paid for the day off, be entitled to be paid time and a half for working on that day or be entitled to an alternative holiday. If they work, they will be entitled to be paid in accordance with the terms in their individual employment agreement (which may provide for normal pay) unless agreed otherwise.
Similarly, employees who have recognised their public holidays on the Saturday or Sunday (either by having a paid day off or by working on the day and receiving time and a half and an alternative holiday), will not be entitled to a paid day off or any special entitlements for working on the following Monday or Tuesday.
If you need assistance applying the transfer of public holidays to your staff, please contact our employment team. Individual employment agreements may include different transfer provisions or entitlements that are additional to those contained in the Holidays Act.