8 May 2014

Weekend workers to receive fair public holiday entitlements

| Canfan
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Workers in the ACT’s ever increasing seven-day workforce will be assured of their fair share of public holiday entitlements thanks to legislation introduced today by the Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Simon Corbell.

The changes to the ACT’s Holidays Act 1958 provide that 25 December, 26 December and 1 January will all be official public holidays when they occur on a weekend, in addition to public holidays the following Monday or Tuesday, as appropriate.

“Until now in the ACT, if Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Years Day fell on either a Saturday or a Sunday, these days were not the official public holiday, instead, the public holiday was either the following Monday, or the following Tuesday if 26 December falls on a Sunday,” Mr Corbell said.

“For workers who are required to work during the festive season – the consequences of these days not being declared public holidays can be significant.

“The workers may not be entitled to the full benefit of any public holiday loadings that would be available if they were working a public holiday and those workers will not be able to exercise their right to reasonably refuse to work on a public holiday, that right being enshrined in the Commonwealth’s National Employment Standards.”

The changes ensure that workers who will miss out on spending time with family on these important holiday occasions will be properly compensated.

“These amendments will restore public holiday parity to ACT and NSW businesses and workers during the festive season and give workers confidence that no matter which side of the border they work or what days they are rostered on, their entitlements will be consistent.”

(Simon Corbell Media Release)

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I agree with workers being able to refuse to work on Christmas Day etc, but making them public holidays that attract the biggest loadings means its harder for businesses to be profitable when opening on those days, so more will decide not to open. Where businesses do this it means smaller profits for business owners, less shifts for workers and reduced access to goods or services for the public. It’s hard to see how anyone wins. It’s the classic union view of trying to maximise income for their members while not looking at the bigger picture.

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