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Penalty rates under the Building and Construction General Onsite Award

Penalty rates are higher pay rates that employees need to be paid for working particular hours or days. These rates can apply on weekends or public holidays.
When do penalty rates apply?
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Penalty rates apply to all work performed on:

  • Saturdays
  • Sundays; and
  • Public holidays

Work performed on these days is considered to be time worked outside of ordinary hours, and a higher rate of pay applies to employees who are required to work on these days.

Is there a minimum amount employees need to be paid for attending work on a public holiday?
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Employees need to be paid for a minimum of 4 hours work when required to work on a public holiday. This applies even if the employee has finished all duties before the 4 hour minimum engagement period has been met.

Are the penalty rates different over the Easter long weekend?
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In addition to Good Friday and Easter Monday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday may be classed as public holidays depending on your state.

State / Territory Good Friday Easter Saturday Easter Sunday Easter Monday 
ACT Public holiday Public holiday Public holiday Public holiday
NSW Public holiday Public holiday
NT Public holiday  
QLD Public holiday Public holiday
SA Public holiday  
VIC Public holiday Public holiday
Do employee entitlements still accrue on public holidays?
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Employees continue to accrue the following entitlements on public holidays, regardless of if they work on site for the day:

  • Annual leave
  • Sick/carer’s leave
  • Rostered Days Off
Does an employer have to pay an employee for a public holiday they do not work?
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Full-time and part-time employees are entitled to their ordinary hourly rate of pay for any day they would have worked that falls on a public holiday.

For example, if a part time employee usually works on a Monday and the Monday is a public holiday and your employee does not work that day your employee is entitled to be paid for that day. If however, a public holiday falls on a day a part time employee does not usually work, they are not entitled to be paid for that day.


To find out more, contact HIA InfoCentre

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