On 5 March 2018, a Full Bench of the FWC handed down its decision in 4 yearly review of modern awards – Public Holidays [2018] FWCFB 4.

The decision protects employers in a number of key industries from big cost increases that would have occurred if the unions’ claims had been accepted.

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) was seeking an award right for full-time employees and certain part-time employees to have an alternative paid day off or an extra day’s pay for each public holiday that falls on a day on which they would not have ordinarily worked. This claim, which would have cost the retail and fast food industries many millions of dollars a year, has been rejected by the Full Bench.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) was seeking to create an award entitlement for employees to receive public holiday penalty rates (typically double time and a half) for work on 25 December and on any substituted Christmas Day public holiday where 25 December falls on the weekend. The AMWU’s claim has also been rejected by the Full Bench.

A similar Health Services Union claim has not yet been determined and will be the subject of further proceedings.

Ai Group’s main submission in the case is available on Ai Group’s website.

If you would like more information about your employees’ entitlements to public holiday pay, please contact Ai Group’s Workplace Advice Service on 1300 55 66 77.

Alternatively, if you would like advice about public holiday provisions in enterprise agreements or employment contracts, please contact your local employment, workplace and industrial lawyer in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Adelaide, Melbourne or Brisbane or email Ai Group Workplace Lawyers at info@aigroupworkplacelawyers.com.au.

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