FairWork: Wednesday Public Holiday (Boxing Day) - Rostered off

Hi hoping someone who is more familiar with this situation can give me some help or point me in the right direction.

Currently I work in a retail environment full time in QLD, I have worked most (about three quarters) of the Wednesdays in the past 3 months with the few Wednesdays I had not worked been off as annual leave.

However in my latest roster I have been "rostered OFF" on Boxing day, meaning I am scheduled to not work and also not get paid for the public holiday.

There has been no patterns as to the few Wednesdays off that I have had in the past three months.

Am I entitled to be paid for Boxing day public holiday? or is my employer correct in that I can be scheduled off without pay.

I have been unable to find an answer on the fairwork website but If anyone can point me to the page that would be great.


  • +2 votes

    Are your casual or part time? If you’re part time, you should have a set roster. If that roster includes Wednesday, you must either be allowed to work Boxing Day or paid for the shift.
    Also, check what award or agreement you’re under


    I am Full time and do not have a set roster.

  • +2 votes

    Didnt know you could be full time without a set roster.

    Are you getting your other benefits?


      Yes I do get all other benefits. No set roster, the full timers are rostered on for 76 hours a fortnight but the scheduled might not be the same each week but we get our roster 6 months in advance

      • +16 votes

        If you get your roster 6 months in advance wouldn't you have noticed this before then and spoken up sooner?


          I actually didn't think anything of it until someone brought it up recently that my day off coincidentally seem to move to match a coinciding public holiday (happened on another occasion throughout the year).

          • +9 votes

            @dealhunter21: If your 6 month roster shows it as being off, you might have trouble arguing that he's avoiding penalty rates, but in this case I suggest you call fair work ombudsmen and ask them specifically about your situation. Make sure to explain about your 6 month roster & that you've been rostered to work every other Wednesday during the year. If there's been other days when your roster seems to have been shifted to avoid public holidays, make sure to explain that too.
            Just checked and if you want an answer today call now. They're closing at 12.30 today

            "You can call us from 8am to 12.30pm on Monday 24 December and 9am to 4.30pm (AEDT) on Thursday 27, Friday 28 and Monday 31 December 2018. During this time we’ll be operating with limited staff and our wait times for phone enquiries will be longer than usual. Avoid the long wait times by finding the information you need on our website."
            13 13 94.

          • +6 votes

            @dealhunter21: Are you still rostered on for 76 hours this fortnight? If you are, then your roster meets your contract conditions.


            @dealhunter21: Maybe someone like one of your bosses on salary, rather than aet hourly rate etc, has decided to wor that day, so your not needed. Also might be low amount of customers expected that day.
            What job is it ?


        Then what did that roster say when your recieved it? Were you rostered for boxing day specifically?

        • +1 vote

          okay so just to rewind a bit the team doesn't officially have set rosters but some staff have unofficial set rosters such as I'm off Sun/Mon but every now and then I might be asked to work SUN and get TUE off.

          But yes I was not rostered to work on boxing day specifically. However looking at it now I thought it was strange that the last 4 wednesdays I was scheduled to work, but off this wednesday and working the next four wednesdays/wednesdays in general in 2019



            some staff have unofficial set rosters


            For public holidays, they might only want a certain number of staff at work or people with specific skills. As long as you've got the correct number of hours rostered on (or they pay you for those where they're closed) so that you're not being paid less than your normal salary, then they're not doing anything wrong.

          • -2 votes

            @dealhunter21: It appears that you are not rostered to avoid them having to pay you. If you can show a pattern of working every wednesday and then not this particular one, you should have a case. Employers cannot change rosters to avoid paying penalties.



            I have worked most (about three quarters) of the Wednesdays in the past 3 months

            So… about 1 in 4 Wednesdays you have off.

            However looking at it now I thought it was strange that the last 4 wednesdays I was scheduled to work, but off this Wednesday

            And this would make it 1 in 5 Wednesdays in the 5 weeks.

            That's hardly a conspiracy.

            • +1 vote


              with the few Wednesdays I had not worked been off as annual leave.

              You missed this part. OP wasn't rostered off on the Wednesdays they didn't work, they chose to take leave. This is completely different.


            @dealhunter21: My work situation is the same, where I am a full-timer with no set days a week I work. Luckily I have never been in your situation but have always wondered what I would do if it did happen.

            Just to confirm, is your workplace open on boxing day and are there other staff rostered that day? If so, are you a new employee or training where they prefer to have experienced staff working on such a busy day?

            You could always ask your employer why your rostered day off was changed considering from what you've said, they always ask you before swapping your shifts.


        You need to call fair work and find out how it works in your specific industry. I'm pretty sure they have to pay you normal pay but not penalty rates.


      Lol you never worked in hospitality or retail… We get shifts they want you to fill. Your 38 hours can not occur over more then 8 shifts though, so theres that.

  • +3 votes

    Read your enterprise agreement or your personal work contract, whatever you're covered under.


    Reading through your employment agreement would be the best place to start. My employment agreement states as a permanent part time employee if i am not rostered on to work public holidays, i get paid for the day at an ordinary rate. Your agreement may have something similar, if it doesn't and you still meet the required hours in your agreement, i would say you're out of luck.


    Just ring FWA and ask them

  • +5 votes

    Next thread: my boss fired me because i demanded pay for boxing day, can i sue him.


    Is there overall less staff on that day, or is it just your turn to have it off, then others will next year? Some bosses think allowing people to have the public holiday off is actually appreciated.


    If you're not rostered on, why would the employer pay you?????? I work for the government, 1/3 of the holidays I work with penalty rates, 1/3 I get stood down (paid normal rates but don't have to go into work), 1/3 I get rostered off without pay (like a Sunday). It all depends on the roster.

  • +3 votes

    It will likely be different for your workplace, but when I worked at an unnamed hospitality joint, where they claim a particular food is better, if you worked a shift with the same day and time, 3 times or more in a row, they can't remove you from the 4th (or next) shift just because it is a public holiday.

    That was specified in my award, it could be different for you, but I believe this is a fairly common thing.

    I'd definitely be checking your award, and maybe chatting with a supervisor/manager.


      Free salad on burgers too

    • +1 vote

      I have also worked retail and in my case was a permanent part-time on a fixed roster. I got to work all the public holidays that were on the days I worked with no exceptions except two key days - Christmas Day and Easter, for which I got paid public holiday rates.

      HeXo is right to some degree (unique to his EBA) so you need to look at the various patterns going on here (under your EBA). First patterns to look at are your own rosters. And I am walking you through a cascading view here, starting from the top:

      1. Are you rostered for the New Years holiday? What can often happen is rosters are rejigged to fairly spread the penalty rates around all staff. Your manager may say it is this. But if you think this is not correct, then look at point 2.

      2. Is this the first time you have been historically rostered off on your regular rostered day when it is a public holiday? Look back at Public Holidays that occur on a specific date (rather than Mondays or Fridays) such as Anzac, Australia, New Years and the Christmas days. If you worked those public holidays then you need to build a pattern that shows you have been rostered on such days before, so you can ask your manager (with back up facts) why not this particular day?

      3. The third thing (related to point 2) is to look for this same pattern occurring to your co-workers. Have they also been rostered off on Public Holidays too? Note that they may have a roster including Mondays, which would be the telling day to look for.

      4. Do you have a mix of permanent full time, permanent part-time as well as casual part-timers on the team? Have other permanents also normally rostered on a Wednesday missed out? Have the casuals all been rostered instead? Obviously here you are looking for management favouring casuals over permanents which is something your union would be highly interested in.

      5. When you speak to your manager, be cordial and ask open questions. Being angry or aggrieved will not help your case, nor your future employment. Your aim to to leave with a "fair" answer to your wonderings, keeping in mind fair may be what is good for the whole team.

      At worst this is only one day where you missed out on penalty rates. It happens. Don't destroy a good working relationship. But you can certainly say you are/were disappointed on this occasion (and no more) then also say you would like to be rostered on future public holidays that fall on your standard rostered days.

      Good luck.


    You need to be clear, you taking annual leave off is irrelevant. Are you rostered every Wednesday?

    The fact that you had six months notice makes it a bit tough to argue though, and if you make a fair work complaint you may as well quit and find a new job.

    Try and find out if it has happened to other staff.

    Your best option is to bring it up with the manager when you have a time to talk in private.

  • +1 vote

    If you normally work on wednesdays and intentionally they have not rostered you on this day then you should accrue a time in lieu. Total number of hrs over 4 week cycle/ no. Of days you work in 4 week cycle.

    Or else they can pay you at ordinary rate as public holiday not worked or else roater you on wednesday in which case you get paid public holiday rates paid.

    It has to be one of the threr and not simply remove you from Wednesday.

  • -1 vote

    You will get paid as usual for the public holiday day off. You don't get double time though because your not working. How hard is that to understand.


    At australia post if we were rostered off on a public holiday we were paid double time for the day while still working then other 5 days of the week.

    The logic behind is for those who were rostered for the day were paid public holiday rates, while those who were rostered off on that day wouldn't receive anything extra and still have to work a 5 day week.

    I am of the opinion is if he has rostered you off and you are still completing your 76 hour fortnight, you should accrue a day rec leave as a minimum.


    It all depends on your agreement. It seems like you were rostered correctly by the hours to fortnight 6 months in advance. The only dispute that you have is if you get paid on the public holiday when you were not rostered on. There are 10 public holidays each year in Australia. What happened to the other 9 public prior to boxing day? Were you not rostered for any of them and got paid still?

  • -1 vote

    How experienced are you? Some of the employers do like to rotate the public holidays among the staff while the others try to keep their senior staffs happy by giving them the public holidays or weekends. It all depends on on who does the rostering


      No it does not depend on on who does the rostering,nor is it up to or legal for the person who does the rostering to keep their senior staffs happy by giving them the public holidays or weekends at the expense of other staff.

  • +1 vote

    Two days off on the trot. I wouldn't complain, I'd hit the beers.


    I'm not 100% how it works in other industries/jobs, but in mine, I'm a full time rotating shift worker and we get paid 8 hours on public holidays if we don't work it. If we work it we get paid 8 hours plus 8 hours go into time in lieu.

    You'd really need to see what EA covers you (if any).

    What does your contract say?

  • -3 votes

    If you have concerns speak to your union.
    Not a member, join.


    If you are on the retail industry award 2010, it was my understanding that unless you usually have Wednesdays off, your manager can't simply move your RDO to that day to avoid paying you PH wages or PH rostered off. I would review your Enterprise agreement and politely contact your manager and explain there may have been a mistake in your rosters. Explain that you don't usually have Wednesdays off and you want to keep your RDOs as they previously were. They should roster you off (you stay home, paid regular Wednesday working hours) if they don't need you, or get you in at public holiday rates.


      I used to work at 7eleven. I have been working every Tuesday for very long time and my boss gave me day off on Tuesday which is public holiday. Next thing I do is I sent him text that I wanna quit and things that I don't like about him. I am working as casual BTW. I don't know it is normal for him to not roster me on Public holiday but I felt so good when I sent him text about quittingm

  • +2 votes

    If you have no award or enterprise agreement, I have the understanding that by law a full time employee gets paid all public holidays on base rate even unrostered.
    Keen to know what you end up finding out


    How many days are you working this week? As a full time employee you should get paid for not working a public holiday. So with Christmas being a paid day and Boxing Day a paid day you should only have three more shifts this week (instead of the usual five). If this isn’t the case you need to have a conversation with your employer.

  • +2 votes

    time in lieu might be owed.


    From what I’ve gathered, your roster doesn’t change much, it’s just a few “shift changes” over a weekend on a “now and again” basis.

    If that’s the case you need to not put up with not having a roster, and demand one. Accepting shift changes as they come out of a 6 monthly roster is perfectly fine: but you should still have your “base shifts” or whatever you wish to call them, acknowledged and set in stone, specifically for incidences like this, or times when you will be pressured to perform a shift you cannot attend.

    In the absence of a written roster, you need to be able to argue that your usual shifts are essentially your “de facto” roster, and your employer should not change it to skirt penalty days.

    And when days like this come up, since you have an understanding of flexibility, it helps to remind the employer that your flexibility doesn’t apply to that week. “I’m not available to change my shifts this week” or “hey, I can move my Monday shift but not my Wednesday” or whatever.

  • -1 vote

    If you have a rostered day off on a public holiday, it's just a day off (like a Sat, Sun) You will not get the penalty rates paid.


    At mcdonald's.

    If your worked that day 3 out of the last 4 weeks, and you then have that day off, you get paid for it.

    Part time or full time


    I have had this problem before and brought it up with the manager I used to work for. I usually work mondays and don't have a set roster too. (Usually get a couple days off in the week either thursdays or fridays and sat etc )They ended up changing it and it never happened again. They seemed surprised I knew abit fair work and did my research instead of trusting them to do the right thing.

  • +1 vote

    depending on your award/contract, for most places I have worked for, if my rostered day off happened to be a public holiday, I could claim either a day in lieu, or an extra 8 hours of pay (even though in some cases, my normal shifts are 12 hours).

    most employers like to keep quiet about it, so find out from HR/payroll next time you are at work.


    PS this only applies to full/part time employees.

    PPS I am in NSW, so things could be different in QLD


    I think there's been a lot of confusion between rostered and contracted hours.

    The public holiday not worked pay only applies to hours you are contracted for.

    Review your contract to see what you agreed upon when you signed up to the job, because it sounds like your job is under an IFA (individual flexibility arrangement) kind of scenario (https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/flexibilit...).

    If an IFA does apply, some of the award basics may not apply. Note, if you are getting above award pay, or different penalties, it is very likely you have an IFA in place.

    TLDR; read your contract to see if and what award or part thereof you are being paid according to.


    if you work on public holidays its 100% + 150% of your hourly rate and this only applies if you are part-time and full time also your contract if it states.

  • -1 vote

    As I've said before, the best way to get a lot of wrong answers on Ozbargain is to ask an industrial relations question. Your question is a matter of law, not opinion or personal experience.

    If you would normally work a Wednesday then yes you are entitled to be paid for not working. It is one of your basic workplace entitlements. Based on what you have said you normally work Wednesdays. At minimum you should be paid for the day or credited with an extra day in lieu. Annual leave or working on a Wednesday are the same. Your roster can't be changed all of a sudden so you miss out on this entitlement. Check out the following page;https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/public-holidays/not-working-on-public-holidays. You can also call fair work.

    Better yet, send the info to your boss.


    I don't understand the question. You're not working Boxing Day, and you're not being paid for Boxing Day.

    Are you asking if you should be paid for a day that you're not working?

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