A substitute public holiday is an ordinary day that is treated like a public holiday instead of the actual public holiday.
Public holidays that fall on weekends are often substituted for the next working day by state and territory governments.
If a public holiday is substituted for a different day, then the actual public holiday is treated like a normal day.
What does an employee get paid for working on a substitute public holiday?
If an employee works on a substitute public holiday they get the entitlements they would usually get for working on a public holiday.
In some years, Australia Day falls on a Saturday or a Sunday.
When this happens, the states and territories can declare that the Australia Day public holiday is substituted for:
- Monday 27 January, when Australia Day falls on a Sunday
- Monday 28 January, when Australia Day falls on a Saturday.
Employees that work on the substitute day get public holiday entitlements for working on that day.
Employees that work on 26 January don’t get any public holiday entitlements for working on that day. An award or an agreement might provide a penalty for this day.
Are there other ways to substitute a public holiday?
Employees covered by an award or agreement
These employees can agree with their employer to substitute a public holiday if their award or agreement allows it.
Employees not covered by an award or agreement
These employees can agree with their employer to substitute a public holiday under the National Employment Standards.
Mary owns and operates a restaurant. She and her employees are covered by the Restaurant Award.
Mary normally closes her restaurant on Easter Sunday but this year she wants to keep it open. Mary talks to her employees, and each of them agrees to substitute the Easter Sunday public holiday for Tuesday that week.
Mary will close the restaurant on Tuesday instead.
Each employee who agreed to the substitution will get their usual weekend penalties on Sunday. They won’t get public holiday penalties. They will then get a paid day off on Tuesday.