With Christmas and New Year just around the corner, we have been receiving a lot of calls about Public Holidays when an employee is on Parental Leave.

During a period of unpaid parental leave, employees can take Government Paid Parental Leave, accumulated Annual Leave and Company Paid Parental Leave.

So how are Public Holidays treated in each of these circumstances?

Annual Leave:

If the public holiday occurs during the Parental leave period that the employee has requested to be paid as annual leave, the public holiday will not be paid.

This is a new interpretation from Fair Work and may come as a surprise. Here is what it says on the Fair Work website.

Public holidays while on paid leave

If a public holiday falls during a period of paid leave (eg. annual leave or sick leave), the employee has to be paid for the public holiday. This includes any hours that fall on a part-day public holiday.

However, if the employee is taking annual leave at the same time as unpaid parental leave, they won’t be paid for the public holiday.


Government Paid Parental Leave:

If the public holiday occurs during the 18 weeks Government Paid Parental Leave, the employee will not receive any additional payment from the Government due to a public holiday falling in that period.

Company Paid Parental Leave (CPPL):

As company paid parental leave is outside of any legislation, you will need to have clear policies covering this situation. If you have not covered public holidays in your policy, then you should come to a management decision on how you wish to treat them and add them to the policy.

Generally it is the intent of the company to give the employee a number of weeks’ pay during their parental leave. Typically companies would not have additional payments added should a public holiday fall within the CPPL period.

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