Economy

Your guide to penalty rates for the 2018 Australia Day public holiday

Emma Koehn /

This Friday marks the first nation-wide public holiday for 2018, with workers in all states entitled to January 26 as a holiday and all employers required to pay staff in line with the public holiday rates as determined by their awards or agreements.

For those in the pharmacy, fast food, hospitality, restaurant and retail sectors, the changes to penalty rates that came in halfway through 2017 also apply.

Some businesses have elected to boycott the holiday in support of changing the date of the national day to one more inclusive of Australia’s First Peoples. It’s a move employment lawyers say can be done, providing you double check your employee’s entitlements first.

If you are paying staff on Friday, however, here are the new penalty rates for the five awards that changed in 2017.

Hospitality Award

Full-time and part-time workers: From July 1, 2017, those covered by the Hospitality Award must be paid 225% of their standard hourly rate on public holidays.

Casual workers: Casual workers in hospitality must be paid at least 250% of their standard hourly rates.

Restaurant Award

Full-time and part-time workers: These workers are entitled to 225% of their usual hourly rate on Australia Day.

Casual workers: There are no changes to public holiday loadings for casual restaurant staff and the loading remains at 250% of the standard rate.

Pharmacy Award

Full-time and part-time workers: Full- and part-time workers are entitled to 225% of their standard rate on public holidays.

Casual workers: Casual pharmacy staff are now entitled to 250% of their base rate.

Retail Award

Full-time and part-time workers: Full- and part-time retail staff are now entitled to 225% of the ordinary rate on public holidays.

Casual workers: Casual retail workers are now entitled to a 250% loading.

Fast Food Award

Full-time and part-time workers: Full- and part-time workers are now entitled to a 225% loading on Australia Day.

Casual workers: Casuals are now entitled to 250% of their standard rate for all hours worked on public holidays.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior journalist at SmartCompany.

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