From commencement of employment full-time employees have an automatic entitlement to benefit from a public holiday. Part-time employees must have worked a total of 40 hours over a five-week period ending immediately before the public holiday to qualify.
Calculation of public holiday benefit
The amount of holiday benefit these employees are entitled to is based on whether they would normally be rostered to work on the day that the public holiday falls on.
If the public holiday falls on a day on which an employee works/would normally work the entitlement is one of the following:
1. A paid day off on that day
2. A paid day off within a month of the day
3. An additional day of annual leave
4. An additional day's pay
If the public holiday falls on a day on which employees does not work and would not normally work then the entitlement is one-fifth of the employee’s normal weekly wage as payment for the public holiday.
Definition of a day’s pay
Fixed rate of pay
Where the rate of pay does not vary in relation to the work done, then pay for a public holiday is the rate payable for daily working hours in the last week before the public holiday (including any regular bonus or allowance, which does not vary, but excluding any pay for overtime).
Varying rate of pay
Where the rate of pay does vary in relation to the work done (ie, where employees do not have normal weekly pay, such as employees paid on a commission basis or flexible bonus payments or where there are irregular working hours), then pay for a public holiday is equivalent to the average daily earnings (excluding overtime pay) for normal working hours calculated by reference to the earnings over the 13-week period ending on the day before the public holiday. Where no time was worked during these weeks, the reference period should be taken to be 13 weeks ending on the day on which time was last worked before the public holiday.
Christmas public holidays 2010/2011
Christmas day, St Stephen’s Day, and New Year’s Day are all statutory public holidays under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 which are calculated in accordance with the methods outlined above. However, bank holidays (such as Christmas Eve) may be treated as non-statutory leave days depending on individual company policy.
This year, Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day, and New Year’s Day will fall on either a Saturday or Sunday. As a result, there has been some confusion as to how the benefit is calculated, particularly in respect of organisations where the normal working week is Monday to Friday. However, it is important to note that the benefit itself will still be accrued based on the date the public holiday falls using one of the methods outlined above. It is the enjoyment of that benefit which can be allocated to be taken on a different date.
For example, take a full-time employee who works a five day week Monday to Friday. As Christmas Day (December 25) falls on a day he/she does not normally work (ie, a Saturday) he/she will be entitled to one-fifth of his/her average weekly earnings. This will equate to one day’s pay, which the employer may choose to give in the form of one day’s annual leave to be taken on a day of the following week, for example Monday (27 December).