Grace Grace, the Minister for Industrial Relations in Queensland has announced that from this year Christmas will come early for workers.

Christmas Eve has been declared to be a “Part Day” public holiday in Queensland. This means that anyone covered by an Award and working after 6.00pm will be entitled to be paid at the Public Holiday rate of pay applicable to the Award which covers the employee. In most Awards the Public Holiday rate is double time and a half.

The hours worked before 6.00pm will continue to be paid at the usual rate of pay the employee would receive for working those hours, however any time worked after 6.00pm will attract the public holiday penalty rate. Please note that the usual “minimum four hours” which is normally required for work on a public holiday does not apply in this instance.

You can read the press release from the Minister by following this link.

Although most organisations close their doors at 6.00pm on Christmas Eve, Employers will have to be mindful that any hours worked after that time will draw the penalty rate of pay. It may be worth considering closing a little earlier to ensure that any profit from sales is not instantly wiped out by the extra labour costs.

This new “Part Day Public Holiday” applies across all Awards and industries. If you are a manufacturing operation which normally works until midnight on Christmas Eve, this may give you reason to shut down production a little earlier from now on.

We have not been given any indication that such a ruling will apply to any other public holidays throughout the year and the Minister has advised that Queensland is now in line with South Australia and the Northern Territory. It would appear that there is a move make this provision a standard arrangement across Australia, however for the moment this does not apply in New South Wales, Victoria, or Western Australia.

Please contact us if you have any queries.

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