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Events In Focus

Australia observes National Day of Mourning on September 22nd

In response to the announcement of a National Day of Mourning on 22 September 2022, the following information has been compiled for HRIA, EWPA, and TSHA members by MST Lawyers, our legal partners.

Public Holidays under the National Employment Standards

Under the National Employment Standards, all employees are entitled to be absent from work on a public holiday. Employers may reasonably request an employee to work on a public holiday.  Where such a request is made, the employee may refuse that request if the refusal is reasonable.

In determining whether a request or refusal is reasonable, the following factors must be taken into account:

  • The nature of the employer’s workplace or enterprise (including its operational requirements), and the nature of the work performed by the employee;
  • The employee’s personal circumstances, including family responsibilities;
  • Whether the employee could reasonably expect that the employer might request work on the public holiday;
  • Whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime payments, penalty rates or other compensation for, or a level of remuneration that reflects an expectation of work on the public holiday;
  • The type of employment of the employee (for example, whether full-time, part-time, casual or shiftwork);
  • The amount of notice in advance of the public holiday given by the employer when making the request;
  • In relation to the refusal of a request – the amount of notice in advance of the public holiday given by the employee when refusing the request;
  • Any other relevant matter.

Employees who work on a public holiday are entitled to receive payment for all hours worked at the relevant public holiday penalty rate set out in their applicable industrial instrument.

Full-time and part-time employees who do not work on a public holiday are entitled to be paid at their base rate of pay for the ordinary hours they would have otherwise worked on that day.

National Day of Mourning on 22 September 2022

On 11 September 2022, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that all Australians will get a one-off national public holiday on 22 September 2022 as a day of mourning to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

It is expected that each State and Territory will gazette the 22 September 2022 as the National Day of Mourning public holiday.

Please see below the most recent status of the public holiday as at 16:00 AEST, 13 September 2022:

Note – this is a moving target as State and Territory governments act on the Prime Minister’s announcement for September 22 to be a National Day of Mourning.

MST Lawyers will continue to monitor this space and will advise if there are any further updates to the status of the public holiday in any State or Territory.


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