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Businesses Caught in the Easter Holiday Hop Chaos

Bosses and businesses have been caught in an Easter hop due to a Full Federal Court ruling in late March this year. The decision has substantial implications for businesses and all future public holidays including the upcoming Easter long weekend in a few days’ time. As a result, the rostering of employees over Easter has been thrown into turmoil.

Employers must now communicate and seek consent of employees, and request them to work on public holidays, which can be refused. The important word in the Full Federal Court decision is “reasonable”  for both workers and businesses.

Rosters and employment contracts are overruled by the NES which allows reasonable employer requests to be made, and employees reasonably not being compelled to work. Public holidays are not like other normal workdays and employees should have compensatory additional salary the court ruled.  

Actions to be taken by business and employers can be: –

  • Make and distribute a DRAFT roster, ensuring employees know that it is a draft roster and open to discussion, negotiation with them and subject to change before being finalised.
  • Communicate with staff that they can refuse on reasonable grounds
  • Have contingency plans in place for fewer employees on public holidays
  • Compensate staff appropriately who do work their public holiday rostered shifts
  • Employers in essential service industries may assign working on a public holiday, but staff must have the opportunity to refuse  
  • Do not use an automatic rostering system for public holidays.
  • Do not assume employees must or will work public holidays

Effective communication, discussions and negotiations with workers will be essential for businesses to roster staff on public holidays into the future without breaking the law and attracting civil penalties. A sub-issue is also what definition of reasonable applies to requests and refusals to work, and this may need to be worked through with your workforce.

If you would like our assistance or if you would like to discuss employee and business rights further, you are more than welcome to contact us at or by clicking the button below.’. 

Suzanne Diprose, Director
0408 897 079