Holiday pay rates are protected
CHECK YOUR ENTITLEMENTS
AS MOST people enjoy the Queen’s birthday long weekend with friends and family, spare a thought for those working in industries that don’t shut down.
For some sectors, such as retail, hospitality and the arts, public holidays are often a busier than usual time, while in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, transport and warehousing, it is a normal work day.
The law has long recognised the impact of having to work on weekends and public holidays through a system of penalty rates.
While fewer than in the past, most workers rostered on to work on public holidays, weekends, at night or other unsociable hours are entitled to be paid penalty rates: extra money that compensates them for missing out on time with family and friends. For employers, it is important to understand that awards and workplace agreements are legal documents.
Failing to pay staff penalty rates or other entitlements is against the law.
A failure to pay can lead to significant fines on top of unpaid wages.
For workers, it is important to check entitlements to penalty rates when working on a public holiday. For casual workers in particular, penalty rates can make up a large part of their wage.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website – fairwork.gov.au – provides access to pay rates, awards and employment agreements that can help you find out the correct rate of pay during the long weekend.
If you believe your employer has failed to pay you correctly, or you have not received the penalty rates you are legally entitled to, you should contact your relevant union or the Fair Work Ombudsman for help.