Here at Weploy, with two offices split across two states, we’ve become accustomed to having some days when half the team is at work and half is not. Australia has 8 public holidays per year (not counting these state-based holidays) which involve additional legislation technicalities, and companies like ours must prepare, plan and forecast well in advance in order to help stay afloat. Not only are there changes in pay rates and charges associated with working on public holidays, it is also a popular time for many full-time employees to request annual leave, causing a strain on the rest of the team who need to keep up with the BAU.
Let’s look at some TOP TIPS on how you can best prepare:
There are a number of State and National holidays observed in Australia with different staff entitlements associated that must be taken into account, even if you don’t personally celebrate them. See the full list at the FairWork association site here. Coming up imminently though, we have the Easter holidays and Anzac Day and the Queen’s Birthday.
If like us, your business operates across multiple states, it is essential you are on top of the different pay entitlements in order to stay compliant. For example, one of the Melbourne team members may be sent to the Sydney office to work on a project throughout November. The Melbourne Cup day falls within this time, but because the team members’ base of employment is Victoria - where the race is regarded as a Public Holiday, that employee will be entitled to the public holiday entitlements even though it is not observed in NSW. Being conscious of different state holidays will help you to plan effectively and ensure teams are working together as efficiently as possible.
The law provides permission for employees to be absent from work on public holidays but in some cases, companies may require employees to come into work if there is “reasonable grounds”. Employees can also refuse these requests if there are reasonable grounds. These are:
Permanent employees must be paid their normal wage for their regular hours of work on public holidays, even though they are entitled to be absent from work for the day. Some sectors require their employees to work during public holidays and both full- and part-time workers are entitled to earn more loading onto their regular wage on public holidays. Casuals are also entitled to earn up to 250% of their standard rate for all hours worked on public holidays and these are determined by the award they are under, or the enterprise agreement. There are extra entitlements which may include:
If you are employing anyone to work on a public holiday, or are being asked to work, you need to check the relevant awards rights closely for full-time, part-time and contingent staff members’ public holiday rights. This handy calculator will help you work out what the overall wage should work out to.
The next few weeks are a popular time for regular staff to make full use of the public holidays and take annual leave. If you do find yourself short staffed over a public holiday period, or know that certain departments or skills will be under-represented, utilising an on-demand staffing platform will mitigate the fall out and help to keep up with the BAU. Using an app like Weploy gives you instant access to a talent pool with hundreds of pre-vetted, work ready staff members who are ready to add value to your business for the Public Holiday itself, or for the days, weeks and months either side of them. Your custom dashboard will help you keep track of your contingent staff, their relevant awards classes and the shifts they work so the correct award and penalty rates are calculated at the invoicing stage, saving you the headache.
Six months ago, I reached a massive milestone in my life when my wife excitedly ran down the stairs to show me a positive pregnancy test. Discovering our first child would be arriving in February 2020, we were beyond excited. We were also a little apprehensive about how this massive change would affect our lives. Going through the experience for the first time, we knew we’d have to learn a tonne of new things about how to care for a baby. Sleeping patterns would change and significant chunks of time would be dedicated to caring for our son. One of the biggest worries I had was balancing my role at Weploy alongside my new role as a Father. Marian Baird, professor of Gender and Employment Relations at the University of Sydney, said almost all eligible women take paid parental leave compared to about 25 to 30% of men. But, as 50% parent to my unborn son, not 25-30%, I had some concerns about my entitlements and how it would impact my career.
Australia is reopening, and businesses are beginning to plan their return to the workplace. A well-thought out and meticulous approach is critical now more than ever. The return to work post-pandemic is not like any other kind of return to work any of us have experienced before after Christmas or Summer holidays, and there are multiple aspects to consider. Logistics, travel arrangements, sanitation measures are all going to be priorities that most of us haven’t had to worry about too much previously.