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Navigating Australian public holidays 2024

The dates, rates and full rundown on Aussie public holidays this year, including a breakdown by state and territory.
By · January 17, 2024
Navigating Australian public holidays 2024

For many Aussies, public holidays are a good excuse to take the day off work and kick back at the beach. However, some core industries continue to operate throughout the whole year.

If you work in one of these sectors, it’s important to understand when these public holidays land and the different pay and entitlements that can apply.

In this article we’ve got the rundown on national, state and territory public holidays as well as everything you need to know about pay rates, employee entitlements and special rules for Australian public holidays.

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How public holidays work in Australia

All employees in Australia are entitled to take a day off work on a public holiday. While an employer can still request an employee to work, the employee can say no if they have reason.

Individuals who are employed on a full-time or part time basis and choose to take the day off on a public holiday will still be paid their minimum pay rate for the ordinary hours they would work. This does not apply to casual employees.

Some employees who choose to work on a public holiday are entitled to a higher rate than their usual minimum pay rate. This additional pay is known as penalty rates.

What are penalty rates?

Penalty rates are a higher rate of pay given to an employee when they work particular days or hours.

Penalty rates are applicable in some of the following circumstances:

  • Public holidays
  • Overtime
  • Weekends
  • Shift work

Calculating public holiday rates

Public holiday pay rates vary depending on the industry award or enterprise agreement that a worker is employed under. Rates are determined based on a number of factors including the industry, employee age, qualifications, and role responsibilities.

Use the Fair Work Ombudsman Pay Calculator to find your award, base pay rate and rate you should be paid on a public holiday.

Example:

A 20+ year old mid-level waiter or waitress working full time in the hospitality sector at a restaurant or cafe would have a base rate of $24.87 per hour. This translates to a public holiday rate of $55.96 per hour with a minimum pay of 4 hours.

Who is entitled to public holiday rates in Australia?

Public holidays are part of the National Employment Standards (NES) which apply to all employees. This is regardless of the award type the employee is working under or any contracts / employment agreements that may be in place.

Are shops and restaurants open on public holidays?

Rules and regulations around retail and restaurant trading vary from state to state.

There are some public holidays where shops can remain open and some where there are restrictions. Certain small or independent food outlets have permission to trade on public holidays while others do not.

There are also strict rules around alcohol sales and gambling in certain states on particular public holidays.

Alcohol sales on Good Friday

Good Friday comes with some of the stricter rules and regulations of all of the Australian public holidays.

In Queensland, Liquor sales are prohibited unless purchased to accompany a meal.

In NSW takeaway alcohol sales are banned and licensed venues can only serve between 12pm and 10pm.

Takeaway bottle shops are closed on Good Friday across WA but licensed venues can serve drinks with a meal between noon and 10pm.

The NT allows liquor sales between 11am and 9pm, with a full meal but no takeaway alcohol is permitted.

Regardless of the rules across different public holidays, most outlets will shut for major public holidays including Easter and Christmas.

Australia public holidays 2024

There are 9 national public holidays in Australia in 2024. In addition to these dates, each state or territory has its own declared holidays such as regional show day holidays.

National public holidays 2024

Monday 1 January: New Year's Day

Friday 26 January: Australia Day

Friday 29 March: Good Friday

Saturday 30 March: Easter Saturday

Sunday 31 March: Easter Sunday

Monday 1 April: Easter Monday

Tuesday 25 April: Anzac Day

Wednesday 25 December: Christmas Day

Thursday 26 December: Boxing Day

Australian Capital Territory

Monday 11 March: Canberra Day

Monday 27 May: Reconciliation Day

Monday 10 June: King’s Birthday

Monday 7 October: Labour Day

New South Wales

Monday 10 June: King's Birthday

Monday 7 October: Labour Day

Northern Territory

Monday 6 May: May Day

Monday 10 June: June public holiday (King's Birthday)

Monday 5 August: Picnic Day

Tuesday 31 December: New Year's Eve (from 7pm to midnight)

For a full breakdown of regional holidays available via NT Government

Queensland

Monday 6 May: Labour Day

Wednesday 14 August: Royal Queensland Show (Brisbane area only)

Monday 7 October: King’s Birthday

Tuesday 24 December: Christmas Eve (from 6pm to midnight)

Full breakdown of regional holidays available via Queensland Government

South Australia

Monday 11 March: Adelaide Cup Day (subject to proclamation)

Monday 10 June: King's Birthday

Monday 7 October: Labour Day

Tasmania

Monday 12 February: Royal Hobart Regatta (only observed in certain areas of the state)

Monday 11 March: Eight Hours Day

Tuesday 2 April: Easter Tuesday (generally Tasmanian Public Service only)

Monday 10 June: King's Birthday

Monday 4 November: Recreation Day (areas of the state that don’t observe Royal Hobart Regatta)

Full breakdown of regional holidays available via WorkSafe Tasmania

Victoria

Monday 11 March: Labour Day

Monday 10 June: King's Birthday

Subject to AFL schedule (date TBC): Friday before AFL Grand Final

Tuesday 5 November: Melbourne Cup

Full breakdown of regional holidays available via Business Victoria

Western Australia

Monday 4 March: Labour Day

Monday 3 June: Western Australia Day

Monday 23 September: King's Birthday (some regional areas in WA hold the King's Birthday public holiday on a different date).

Full breakdown of regional holidays available via WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety  

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