Managing Public Holidays

Public holidays

Your national and state public holiday rules and rates are already inbuilt with your Awards & Agreements and will flow through to your employees' pay.

  Please note: Any regional Public holidays such as Show days and local shire days will need to be added to your platform by a Super User.  

The workflow for public holidays is as follows: 

  1. In the Roster - Including permanent full-time, part-time and casual staff.
    • Use the 'Not required to work on public holiday. Paid as normal day.' toggle on shifts for permanent employees that will not be worked.
  2. In Approve Shifts -
    • Select the correct approval options:
    • For casuals.- Approve shifts as normal, this will pull through the appropriate public holiday rates.
    • For Permanent staff - Select the applicable option from the pop-up box in Approve shifts.
      • Shift was not worked -pay normal rates.
      • Shift was worked- pay penalty rates.

Salaried staff and public holidays

  • If your business rosters salaried staff continue to do this as normal. They will not appear for approval in Approve shifts.
  • How salaried employees are paid (and how public holidays for salaried employees are treated) is automated by foundU, based on how their position is configured in their employee profile. Because of this, they do not appear in Approve Shifts. It's a good idea to check the Salaried staff settings in the employee profile to ensure the correct rates pull through for public holidays, click here to check setup.

  To get a firm grasp on public holidays, if you haven't already done so please Watch our Masterclass on Public Holidays.  This content covers adding a Public Holiday to your platform, rostering and approving for public holidays and much more!


Prepare for your Public holidays

Set your regional public holiday in your platform

We at foundU equip your platform with all:

  • National public holidays
  • and State public holidays 

The rules and rates for these Holidays are already inbuilt with your Awards & Agreements and will flow through to your employees' pay.

What about my regional public holidays?

How regional public holidays are handled is different for each business, so the following steps will ensure you can review and manage these for yourself.

  Please note: Any regional Public holidays such as Show days and local shire days will need to be added to your platform by a Super User.

If you want to be on top of this and not miss paying the correct rates on public holidays we suggest that you:

  • In January, look at all of the public holidays in your platform for the year ahead and ask yourself what may be missing.
  • Use the internet to search for the public holidays in your local postcodes or shires and check your platform to see their presence.
  • When a public holiday approaches - check your roster and make sure you see the Pink badge displayed above the date in question. No badge = No public holiday. Please address this immediately.


If you find your regional public holiday is not set - please take care of this straight away using this guide.

Reminding Admins and employees about public holidays
Communication around public holidays can make everything run smoother for both your admins and employees! 

Reminders for admin

Below are some great examples we have seen in customer platforms before!

  • "Check your regional public holidays are displayed on your roster for the upcoming Show days!"
  • "Please don't forget to roster employees who should be paid at the normal rate on the public holiday!"
  • "Here is the guide to ensure that we approve shifts correctly on public holidays!"
  • "We are running pay early, as our normal payday would be Dec 24th, please have all shifts preapproved by xx day to ensure your staff are paid".

    The best way to do this is to use the announcements feature in your platform! You can set an end date for your reminder so you don't even need to remember to take it down.

Reminders for employees

For your permanent (full-time and part-time staff) because you will continue to roster them as normal, it can also be helpful to add in a shift or day note for any days that you roster employees but do not require them to come and work on the public holiday.

Below are a couple of ideas that your business can utilise:

  • "Dec 27th is a public holiday this year- Please be aware our hours are reduced 10 am-4 pm "
  • "Public holiday restricted hours and surcharge apply today"
  • "Restricted menu today for the holiday"

    The best way to communicate with employees about a public holiday will be through the use of roster notes.

Public holiday display on rosters and approve shifts

Your platform will remind you of upcoming public holidays by displaying a pink pill on applicable public holidays in the following places:

  • On the roster (on applicable days for applicable Operations) - Seeing a public holiday display on a roster is a great way for managers to be alerted to build the roster appropriately to the business needs of that particular day!
  • In Approve Shifts (on applicable days for applicable Operations)- The pink badge in Approve shifts will remind approval managers to take care with making the appropriate selections when approving shifts on these days.


Any public holidays affecting a roster will have a pink badge displayed above the day in question. A few things to note:

  • The public holidays that are displayed here can all be found via the main menu > Payroll Settings > Public Holidays.
  • Can't see a Pink badge on your roster or Approve shifts for the public holiday? This is not an error, this public holiday is not set and it needs to be addressed.
  • Viewing the pink badges is a great way to see any gazetted public holidays - when a public holiday falls on a weekend and is moved to another day instead of the normal holiday. This helps you plan your rosters better.

  Where public holidays have specific hours or apply to a specific state/region, these will also display when you hover over the public holiday heading.

Viewing leave for employees on and around public holidays

When public holidays approach, this is often a time that employees apply for extra annual leave, especially around times such as Easter and Christmas when there are groups of public holidays. Some of the common concerns for admins around this time may be:

  • Will my employee's leave balances be debited on public holiday days?
  • How can I be sure my employees will have enough leave balance to cover this date in the future?
  • How can I see who I have approved leave for this time already?

Let's explore these questions below.

Employees applying for leave over public holidays

When an employee applies for leave spanning over a few public holidays, your platform will know that the employee does not need to use their leave balance over any applicable public holiday times.

As you can see in the below example, Melanie has asked for the period spanning Dec 25- Dec 31 and the system has not debited her annual leave over the public holidays.

Employees' predictive leave balance

Employees will often book time off around public holidays well in advance, when this is the case they may be concerned about their available leave balances at this time. When an employee applies for leave in their Employee App, depending on the date of their future leave application, the system will project their available leave balance at this time based on the current work pattern set on their position.
  Future leave balances will change if the employee's normal pattern of work changes, as well as if they apply for more leave between now and the future application. 

If your employee is concerned about their future leave balance, the best place to check is the Estimated balance column on the Time off page.

In our example above you can see that:

  • Melanie Peters has applied for 22.80 hours and will have an estimated balance of 143.35 hours at the time this leave will take place. Melanie has sufficient leave
  • However, Jessie McGuire has applied for 197.60 hours of leave but will only have 142.79 hours of leave at this time. Jessie has insufficient leave and a portion of this leave (if approved) will be unpaid.

  Please note: Employees are also warned that they may not have sufficient leave when making a leave application.

Viewing Leave around Public holidays

There are a few options for viewing employees' Leave around a public holiday period. We suggest you try these out and see what works best for your business.

Using the Time Off filter and Export

  1. Navigate to Time and Attendance > Time Off > Leave.
  2. Select the filter on the right-hand side and filter by the appropriate date range.
  3. Ensure to Select 'All' so that you can view both Pending and Approved leave requests.

    In the below example, we will export a list of all pending and approved leave requests from the 1st of Dec - 10th of Jan. This will show us easily who we have granted leave to and who is sitting as a pending request for a similar time.

  4. Once you have your list, 'Select all' by ticking on the left-hand side and Export the list.

Please note: This exported list is only current at the time of Export. Please perform the above actions for the most up-to-date information.

Using the display features on your roster

By tailoring your display features ('Show time off' and 'Pin empty rows') you can create a type visible leave calendar right on your roster. 

Benefits of this method:

  • Allows you to see the Pink badges for public holidays as well as the Purple markers for employees' leave.
  • Can move forward in the roster to see leave week to week.

Please note: Using the method will only show Approved Leave applications, not ones that remain pending.

In our example below, we have selected our most used employees from the employee picker We then tailored our display settings to 'pin these rows to the roster', and 'show time off'. This allows us to see the employee's leave over the upcoming Public holiday period at a glance.

Using the external calendar link

Using this feature, you can display pending and approved leave applications on your external calendar!

  • This will assist with visibility within the business and can allow you to see who's away at a glance!
  • This will be especially helpful around Christmas and New Years' periods as your External calendar will also show public holidays.
  • It Will show approved as well as pending applications, giving you more insight into whether or not you can approve more leave for people in your business at this time.

To learn more about Viewing leave in your External calendar, use our helpful guide to get this set up for all your approval managers.

In our example below, we have used the external calendar link and imported it into our business' Outlook calendar and can now easily see who will be on leave and the span of their leave over the Christmas period.

Run a leave liability report to see how much leave employees have (or will have in the future). Please note you'll need permission to access financial reports (and pay rates).

Rostering correctly for public holidays 

Example scenarios for permanent employees

Before you begin rostering and approving shifts for permanent employees, you may want to read these brief examples.

These are the 3 typical examples of permanent employees

SCENARIO 1: Permanent staff member is not working on a public holiday (and would normally be rostered on as this is part of their normal pattern of work).

Example: On Monday it is a public holiday. Mary, who is a full-time staff member, does not work on this day as it's a public holiday (but she is normally rostered to work on 6 hours on Mondays). 

    1. Roster Mary for her normal 6 hours. Enable the toggle 'Not required to work on public holiday. Paid as normal day.'
      -Mary sees 'Paid day off' in her Employee App on this day.
    2. When approving Mary's shift select 'Shift not worked- pay normal rates'.
      -Mary is paid for Monday at her ordinary time earnings (normal rate). She does not receive the public holiday rate as she did not work on this day.

SCENARIO 2: Permanent staff member works on public holiday.

On Monday it's a public holiday. Roger is a part-time staff member who is rostered to work on this day.

    1. Roster the employee as per normal.
      -Roger knows that he will be working on Monday and that it is a public holiday.
    2. When Approving Shifts for the public holiday for Roger select 'Shift worked- pay penalty rates'.
      -Roger is paid for Monday at his public holiday rates as he worked on the public holiday.

SCENARIO 3: Permanent staff member is working on a public holiday but cannot work the normal amount of hours they usually would due to restricted business hours or lessened staff requirements.

Example: On Monday it is a public holiday. Mary, who is a full-time staff member, is only rostered to work for 5 of her usual 8 hours due to the restricted business hours of Australia Day. 

    1. Roster Mary for 2 shifts (Split shift).
      • Roster a normal 5-hour shift to be worked.  This will be Approved using 'Shift worked- pay penalty rates'.
      • Roster another 3 hours as Shift is not worked using the toggle 'Not required to work on public holiday. Paid as normal day.' This will be Approved using 'Shift not worked- pay normal rates'.
    2. When approving Mary's shift select 'Shift not worked- pay normal rates'.
      -Mary is paid for 5 hours at public holiday rates and 3 hours at her ordinary time earnings (normal rate) for the separate shift.
Rostering working and non-working employees for public holidays

When building out your roster for Public holidays, it is important to roster all employees who you wish to be paid, whether it be for penalty rates or ordinary hours. This includes:

  • All casual or non-salaried permanent employees who will be working.
  • Non-salaried permanent employees who will not be working but need to be paid for their ordinary hours. 

  • Salaried staff- you can choose to roster Salaried staff if you normally do, however:

How do I know if my permanent employee is entitled to be paid for their ordinary hours on the public holiday?

Permanent Employees and public holidays can be a bit trickier, as permanent staff who do not work on a public holiday may still be entitled to be paid. 

According to Fairwork, for Permanent staff:

  • Working on the public holiday- They are entitled to be paid public holiday rates as per the Award for hours worked.
  • Not Working the public holiday- If they normally work on the day a public holiday falls, they are entitled to be paid their base pay rate for the ordinary hours they would have worked if they had not been away because of the public holiday.

      Tip: If you need to determine if this is a normal day of work (e.g. Mondays) for your employee you can:
    • Either consult the work pattern in their position to see if Monday is a normal day of work for them, or
    • Look at the previous 5 Mondays- If the employee in question has worked 3 out of 5 then this is a normal day of work for them.

On public holidays such as Christmas Day and Boxing Day when many businesses are typically closed, it is important to consult the above and consider if your permanent employees need a shift rostered so that you can approve their hours for Ordinary time.

  Note: In some instances, an employee may not be able to work their normal amount of hours on a public holiday due to restricted business hours. In this case, you'll want to roster them for 2 shifts on one day-  a 'worked portion' and a 'paid not worked portion'. Please see Scenario 3 in the section above for full details.

For casual and permanent employees who will be working roster them as normal. For permanent employees who are entitled to be paid ordinary hours but are not working, follow the below procedure.

Rostering a Paid not worked shift

To roster a shift for a permanent staff member to be Paid, not worked:

  1. When building the shift, add in the hours to be paid.
  2. Slide on the toggle 'Not required to work on public holiday. Paid as normal day.' 
    • Please note this toggle only displays for permanent employees on public holidays.
  3. Select Create shift.
  4. The shift will now display in pink on the roster as 'Paid, not worked'. 

Once the shift has been published, it will show in the Employee app as 'Paid Day off' to the employee. Once approved, the employee will be paid as a normal day at their ordinary rate.

In our example below, watch how we add a 'Paid, not worked' shift to our employee Kai. We then navigate to his Employee App to see what displays for him on the day in question. You can also see that shift flows through to Approve shifts with a 'Public holiday, not worked, pink marker.

If you need to change the status of a Paid, not worked shift you can do so via one of the below methods.

    • Edit the rostered shift, and turn off the 'Not required to work on public holiday. Paid as normal day.' toggle. Republish the roster.
    • Change the status of the shift in Approve shifts (see below accordion on Approving public holiday shifts).

  Note: You can customise how Public Holiday Not Worked shifts display on payslips. More information about this can be found in this article.

Approving shifts on Public holidays

Approving shifts on public holidays

The process for approving casuals and permanent staff differs slightly. With the new approval options for permanent employees, you'll find the process more straightforward.

Below we will cover:

  • Approving permanent (non-salaried) employees who worked the public holiday
  • Approving permanent (non-salaried) employees who did not work the public holiday
  • Approving casuals on public holidays

Approving Permanent Employees on Public Holidays

As you can see from the below diagram, when Approving Shifts on Public Holidays, you will be asked to select how the permanent employee should be paid. For casual staff, the additional approval options will not appear.

  • Shift was not worked - pay normal rates
  • Shift was worked - pay penalty rates

In both cases, if the employee needs to be paid (ordinary or penalty rates), you will need to roster them a shift (so you have something to approve).

Below is a visual aid to assist you in the process.


Permanent Staff - shift was not worked

For those staff who you have determined need to be paid for their normal ordinary hours (as this day is a normal working day for them), the approval process is as follows.

To Approve Permanent staff who didn't work:

  1. Select the tick to approve the shift.
  2. In the pop-up modal, select the option 'Shift was not worked - pay normal rates'.

  3. Next select Confirm and Approve.

Watch along on our example below.


Permanent Staff - shift was worked

For those staff who work the public holiday and need penalty rates applied, you can do so by selecting the 'Shift was worked- pay penalty rates' option.

To Approve Permanent staff who worked:

  1. Select the tick to approve the shift.
  2. In the pop-up modal, select the option 'Shift was worked - pay penalty rates'. This additional option will also appear when editing a shift prompting you to select the relevant option.

  3. Next select Confirm and Approve.

Watch along in our example below.

If you encounter more than 2 options in this area, this indicates that your Platform has extra Award Interpretation turned on, please consult this article for guidance on those approvals.

Bulk approvals on Public Holidays

If you normally bulk-approve shifts, please note that you'll want to take more care on Public Holidays. Any shifts approved in bulk on a public holiday will be approved in the manner that you rostered them. You may want to slow down and approve your shifts one by one on Public holidays to ensure they are done correctly. 


We'll use the following example to look at how the bulk approval action will behave when approving a variety of public holiday shifts.

In our example, we have a variety of shifts scheduled for our Boxing Day public holiday.

  • 'Public holiday, not worked' for permanent staff member - Melanie Peters
  • Shifts worked (to be paid at penalty rates) for permanent staff - Harold, Gemma and Aimee
  • Shifts worked for casuals

You can see that in Selecting all shifts >  Approve 7 shifts > Confirm and approve, it will bulk approve all shifts as they were rostered.

Watch along in our example below.

  If you do bulk approve and have found that you have made an error, use the 'Edit' pencil to make a change.

Approving Casuals on Public Holidays

When it comes to public holidays and casuals, the process is very straightforward.

As you can see from the below diagram:

  • If a casual employee works on a public holiday you will approve the hours they work and they will be paid at the applicable public holiday rate. This will seem the same as approving a shift for a casual on any other day.
  • If they don't work, they will not be entitled to be paid. 


Approving shifts - Extra award interpretation (EBA for public holidays)

Some Enterprise Agreements will pay their public holiday not worked shifts differently to modern awards. If you have an EA that pays these shifts differently, a third approval option can be enabled via a setting to cater to this.  

  If this applies to you, you can read more about the additional option and how to enable it in this article.  

Paying staff early (before a public holiday)

To ensure that your Public holidays run smoothly you may want to generate and pay your employees early. This is often the case around Christmas and New Year or Easter when often public holidays may fall on your normal payroll day.

Paying staff early can have multiple benefits such as:

  • Relieving added stress on your payroll team around holidays
  • Allowing your employees to access their earnings before a holiday period

How you pay staff early will depend on what type of employee they are.

Salaried staff 

Use the link below to specify a new date for pay.

To ensure that your Public holidays' payroll runs smoothly, you can generate and pay your salaried employees early.

If this is the case, please complete this Early Pay Request with the new date for when you would like the foundU team to generate the Salaried pay.


Permanent full-time, part-time and Casual staff

This will require shifts approved ahead of time  (pre-approved) when approving for a future date.

For your casual and permanent (hourly) paid employees, please Approve Shifts as usual and generate payslips at your desired date. Future shifts pre-approved will create a new payslip for that pay period and can be generated at any time.

  Please note: You may need to enable the setting that allows the pre-approval of shifts if you don't usually use this feature. You can always disable it after you have used it for this occasion if you don't want managers approving shifts in advance.

  If you have annual leave accrual overrides set for an employee, if you generate two payslips in the same period it will apply the minimum accrual to both. Export your entitlements to quickly see any employees with accrual limits configured. 

Reporting on Public Holidays and FAQs

Using an Award test to view how an employee will be paid on a public holiday 

As part of your payroll checks, you may like to check why your employees are being paid the way they are on the public holiday. Using the Awards test feature you can see how each employee will be paid on the public holiday based on their position and shift approval. 

  Please note: The following permissions are required to view the awards test page. 'Access Award Tests' and 'View Employee Pay Rates'.

To use the Award test feature:

  1. Navigate to Payroll > Award test.
  2. Select A Roster and select the period and period ending. Then click the Begin Analysis button.
  3. Click on the summaries to view the breakdown.

In the below example, all of our employees' shifts were approved as 'Shift was worked- pay penalty rates', except Gemma who was approved as 'Shift was not worked- pay normal rates' as the creche at the cafe was closed and she was not required to work.

In the example below you can see the employees on the Back of House Roster and their breakdown for the public holiday. Adam and Aimee both worked the public holiday and we can view this on the Award test, whereas Gemma was paid at her normal rate for her normal hours of work.


If you would like to learn more about using the Award test feature, please read our helpful article which provides more details.

Public holiday reporting

Please note pay rate and permission to view financial reports are required for the below:

You can compare your staffing costs for your public holidays, and you can use the Labour management report (located in Reports > Financial reports) to see:

  • Daily wages (Group by Operation and Day and Date)

  • Your most or least costly day (Group by Day and specific roster (purchase order)

  • Your most or least costly operation (Group by Day and specific Operation)

Public Holiday FAQs

Here are some of our more commonly asked questions regarding public holidays!

Q. I need my employee's leave balance to be deducted over the public holiday as it is a part of their contractual agreement. How can I set this up?

The platform will only deduct leave on a public holiday if a leave application is approved and the 'deduct leave' toggle is switched on in the employee's current position.

You can check this by going to the Employee Profile > Employee Card > Employment Type > Current Position > Edit Pencil > Select Continue until you arrive at the work pattern step. Here adjust the 'Deduct Leave' toggle to 'on' if you would like Leave deducted on public holidays. 

Q. When should I use the 'Use Normal rate' toggle in an employee's profile?

When this setting is enabled, the employee is paid their ordinary base rate when working on a public holiday. This setting overrides anything approved in Approve Shifts.

If you need to, you can edit the position to turn this toggle off.

Q. How can I be successful at making sure everything is seamless around a public holiday on my platform?

There are a few key things to be across:

  • Remember to add regional public holidays to your platform!
  • Permanent staff should often be paid their normal rate for the day on a holiday closure. Ensure you roster them a shift on your roster, so that you can approve this and they still get paid at their normal rate.
  • There are a few options to choose when approving a shift for permanent employees' on public holidays! Use this guide to ensure you make the correct selection.
  • Correctly applying the 'Use Normal rate' toggle in your employee's position settings.

Q. Why do I still need to roster a permanent employee on a public holiday if I simply want them to be paid the normal rate?

To create a shift that flows through to Approve Shifts. Only salaried (automated) employees will be paid without being rostered and approved.

Q. We have a state holiday coming up, do I need to add this to my platform as it's not a national public holiday?

If it's a state-based holiday, don't worry, we have this covered! You only need to add in the regional public holidays that are generally unique to a shire, suburb or postcode!

Q. What happens if I need to pay my staff early (we are closed for the holiday)?

Contact support and we can run the automated employees early! You will need to pre-approve shifts for permanents and casuals.

Q. I forgot to add a regional public holiday to my platform. It is now payday and I have just realised!

Let's step this out - If your payslips are still in draft:

  • Go in and add in your regional public holiday Payroll settings> Public Holidays. Use the Help article.
  • In Approve Shifts:
    • Decline previously Approved shifts - then Re-Approve them to capture the public holiday. (For casual and permanents who worked)
    • Consider the Permanent employees who did not work - are they entitled to Public Holiday Not worked hours? If so Add in a shift in Approve shifts and Approve as 'Shift was not worked- pay normal rates'.
  • By declining & re-approving the shifts, the changes will flow through to payroll.

Q. I forgot to add a regional public holiday to my platform. I have already paid my employee, how can I resolve this?

If you have processed pay already, for any affected employees, you'll need to edit each payslip or create an adjustment, to reflect the correct pay for that public holiday. 

Q. When are the public holidays added to my platform for the next year? Just curious as my employees are already applying for leave around public holidays.

We will add these in for you around September at the end of each calendar year! If you'd like to see if they have been added yet, navigate to main menu > Payroll settings > Public holidays and use the calendar view to navigate to the relevant year and month.