Public holidays form part of the National Employment Standards (NES).
The NES provides an entitlement for employees to be absent from work on a day that is a public holiday. According to the NTCER (clauses 4 & 5), registrars are engaged as employees and as such, should be paid their base rate of pay for the day when a public holiday falls, provided they normally work ordinary hours on that day of the week (NTCER clause 6.7,).
Furthermore, the Fair Work Ombudsman advises that an employee’s roster can’t be changed to avoid paying them for a public holiday.
BUT this does depend on the details in the registrar’s employment agreement. GPRA’s advice is to ensure that your ordinary hours are agreed on prior to commencing a term and that this is itemised and detailed in your employment agreement. An employment agreement is legally binding, and so if rostering detail is specified then this becomes a contractual obligation on the practice and so cannot be altered without your written consent.
If your rostering details are not documented in your employment agreement and/or are only based on a verbal agreement, then alterations to your rostering in relation to public holidays can be difficult to substantiate. Also, clauses in employment agreements that allow for rostering changes subject to clinic requirements can ‘open the door’ for roster alterations for public holidays.
The key point for registrars is to:
- Ensure that all items negotiated and agreed on in relation to your remuneration, working conditions and other terms and conditions (including rostering details)
- that these items are documented in your employment agreement prior to commencing your training term.