As we enter the vaccination phase of this pandemic a new set of questions and considerations arise for employers. The Think Tank session we held last week raised some puzzling conundrums and generated excellent discussion. Thank you to everyone who contributed. A summary of the discussion points follow in this article.
In short, there is no change to how you pay public holidays for Good Friday and Easter Monday. What may have changed is the rate you pay them at, and/or whether the day is now an otherwise working day for the employee.
Here are the basics and the questions that may stem from that.
- If the public holiday is an otherwise working day for your employee they get paid.
- It is paid at the employee’s relevant daily pay if they do not work on the public holiday.
- Relevant daily pay is the amount of pay that the employee would have received had the employee worked on the day concerned.
- Please remember that the wage subsidy is a payment to the employer. You have agreed to pass it on to your employees to cover wages. Payment for working, not working, leave and public holidays is all deemed to be wages.
- If you have agreed the employee is not required to work, or has reduced hours that are worked on days other than the public holiday days, then the public holiday days are not otherwise working days and therefore no payment is due (noting this has not been tested in the Employment Court).
- You can always agree to pay more than the statutory obligations if you think that is the fair thing to do and you can afford to pay it.
- In the current environment there are lots of things that are unfair. Some things benefit some employees while disadvantaging others. There is no easy answer – just do the best you can and keep communicating with your team honestly.
Click here for our Q & A on various work scenarios
ANZAC Day may or may not be in a lockdown depending on whether it is extended. To avoid as much confusion as possible, get agreement from your employees on what their hours and pay will be once the lockdown is over. You probably don’t know yet what that will look like, but as soon as you do, make the plans and try to reach agreement. Remember ANZAC day is now Mondayised. As it falls on a Saturday this year this will have an impact.