Managing Public Holidays

Public holidays

Managing public holidays with foundU is easy!

Looking for tips and tricks in the lead up to the holiday period? Watch our recent Masterclass on Public Holidays!

  • We share how to add a regional public holiday to your platform, approve shifts with ease on public holidays and how to determine if your permanent staff should still be paid on public holiday closures, plus many more helpful tips.

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

All managers need to do is:

  • Roster staff as normal. Including permanent full time and part time and casual staff and (salaried if your business rosters salaried employees).
  • Approve shifts for casuals.
  • Approve shifts for Permanent staff and select the option that applies (treat as normal day if they're not working on a public holiday (and would normally be scheduled to work), or default if they are working on a public holiday).

Below are some helpful examples:

Example 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).
-Scenario: On Monday it is a public holiday. Mary a full-time staff member does not work on this day as its a public holiday (but she is normally rostered to work on Mondays). 

    1. Roster the employee as normal
      -Mary knows she doesn't need to come in on Monday as it is a public holiday.
    2. When Approving Shifts for the public holiday for Mary select treat as normal work day (permanent staff will be paid their ordinary time earnings (normal rate)).
      -Mary is paid for Monday at her ordinary time earnings (normal rate). She does not receive the public holiday rate as she did not actually work on this day.

Example 2: Permanent staff member works on public holiday
-Scenario: On Monday it's a public holiday. Roger is a part time staff member 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 default (then the award rules will apply e.g. public holiday rates).
      -Roger is paid for Monday at his public holiday rates as he worked on the public holiday.

For casual staff:

  • Roster the employee as normal
  • You'll Approve and Decline shifts as normal.
  • If a casual works on a public holiday the platform will pick up the relevant public holiday rates (these are already set in your Awards).

For salaried staff:

  • If your business rosters salaried staff continue to do this as normal.
  • Salaried employee's data utilises the salaried automation which means that it bypasses the need for your managers to approve shifts.
  • Its 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 set up.

Check out our helpful video below to see the different options when Approve Shifts on a Public Holiday.

Check that your regional public holiday (or additional day) is set

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

All you need to do is add in any regional and additional public holidays click here to check your public holiday set up.

Using announcements (and roster comments) as a reminder for public holidays
Communication can make managing your employees on public holidays a little easier.

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

  • Using announcements to remind managers of upcoming public holidays

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 comment for any days that you roster employees but do not require them to come and work on the public holiday.

Public holiday display on rosters

Public holidays will display on your rosters from your public holidays listed via hamburger icon > Payroll settings > Public holidays.

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.

Approving leave for employees on public holidays

See all the leave requests (approved and unapproved requests) via Leave and use the filters to see for example the month of December. Use the tabs to see unapproved or approved leave.

Optional Export the leave into your external calendar such as Outlook.

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

Approving shifts for Casuals and Permanent staff on public holidays

Check out our video below on Approving shifts on public holidays which explains:

  • To roster permanent staff regardless of if you require them to work (i.e. the public holiday is part of their normal work pattern). 
  • Managing a permanent staff member who isn't working on a public holiday.
    • 'Treat as normal day' of work option.
  • Managing a permanent staff member who is scheduled to work on the public holiday.
    • 'Default option' which will pay the rate as per the award e.g.  Public holiday rate. But it is also worth checking your permanent employees work pattern (located in the employee profile) to ensure the correct Public Holiday setting has been applied (see the Salaried employee's section in the set up above).
  • Salaried staff- won't display in Approve shifts as they are automated to flow through directly to Pay.
  • Casual staff- no additional options to select when approving shifts on a public holiday. Casuals will be paid the public holiday rate that is set in their award.

Watch this short video to see the scenarios for Permanent staff, Casual staff and Salaried staff demonstrated for you. We will also go through scenarios with screenshots below the video.

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 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 exactly 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. 


Determining how to pay Permanent (non-salaried) Employees on Public Holidays

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 (I.e. Mondays) from 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.

This is one of the more common pitfalls in Public Holidays- forgetting to roster your permanent staff on the holiday (so you have a shift to approve later).

Approving Permanent (non-salaried) 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.

  • Treat As Normal Day: The day will not be treated as a public holiday. Standard rates will apply.
  • Default: Public holiday rates will apply as per the award interpretation.

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

  • Tip: Utilise shift comments to let the employee know that they're not required to come in.


For Permanent Staff who don't work but still need to be paid:

When approving shifts on a public holiday for permanent employees an option will appear to select how the employee should be paid when approving a shift on a public holiday.

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), ensure you have rostered a shift for them.

To Approve Permanent staff who didn't work:

  1. Select the option 'treat as normal day' in your approval, and they will be paid at their ordinary rate for the hours you have rostered.
  2. Select Approve.


Please note: For casual staff this pop up will not appear (the rules will flow through as per the award).

For Permanent Staff who worked:

To pay Public Holiday rates to your permanent employees who worked:

  1. Select the option 'Default' in your approval, and they will be paid at the applicable public holiday rate for the number of hours.
  2. Select Approve.


This pop- up box will also appear when editing a shift:

If you encounter more than 2 options in this pop-up box, this indicates that your Platform has extra Award interpretation turned on, please consult this article for guidance on those approvals.


Paying staff early (before a public holiday)

Salaried staff- fill in the below request specifying new date

To ensure that your Public holidays, for example Christmas, payroll runs smoothly, you may want to 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 pays.


Permanent full time, part time and Casual staff- approve shifts ahead of time (will display as 'pre-approved') when approving for a future date

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

Please note, that 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.

Public holiday reporting
Please note pay rate and permission to view financial reports is 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)

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