Christmas Eve will be classified as a part-day public holiday in Queensland starting this year, meaning businesses operating that evening will be required to compensate their workers accordingly.
In a joint statement released yesterday with the Queensland Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace, Queensland Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a state-wide six-hour public holiday starting from 6pm on Christmas Eve.
“Many Queenslanders … have to work Christmas Eve and the change would ensure proper compensation for them,” Palaszczuk said.
Queensland is set to become the third state to offer this half-day to workers, following South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Marcus Bernardi, co-owner of Adelaide establishment Harry’s Bar, tells SmartCompany the law — which was implemented in 2012 for South Australia — has not changed their decision to continue into the night on Christmas Eve.
“Christmas Eve is not a busy time … We wish we didn’t have those rates because people are more than happy to work but we’ve chosen to open.
“Even though it’s not worthwhile from a financial point of view with all the penalties, we just felt that it’s almost a service to the customer [to open],” he explains.
Retail, restaurant, hospitality and pharmacy award rates go up by 225% to 275% over public holidays depending on whether the employee is casual, part-time or full-time.
The new legislation is driven by overwhelming support from the public, with 71% of public consultation submissions in favour, according to Grace.
“We received submissions from retail workers, bus drivers, mothers and religious leaders, just to name a few, who wrote of the ever-growing importance of Christmas Eve as a special time for family and friends to come together and celebrate the season and the need to properly compensate those who were required to work,” she said in a statement.
“Making it a public holiday will give those who have to work, like essential services staff, retail workers and shop employees, better pay for doing so.”