Public holidays can now be substituted under the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award (Social and Community Services Award). This change follows a decision by the Fair Work Commission, the national workplace relations tribunal. It applies from the first full pay period starting on or after 11 September 2023.
Under the Social and Community Services Award, an employee can now make a request to substitute a public holiday (or a part day public holiday) for a different day (or part day). If their employer agrees to the request, the substitute day will be treated as the public holiday. This means that any work performed by an employee on the replaced day is paid at their normal pay rate. The employee then gets a paid day (or part day) off on the substitute day. If the employee works on the substitute public holiday, they’re entitled to be paid penalty rates for the time worked.