Public holidays in Australia are declared on a state and territory basis.
The states and territories are the first-level administrative divisions of the Commonwealth of Australia. They are the second level of government in Australia, located between the federal and local government tiers.
Traditionally, Australians in employment (whether in the public or private sector) have had the right to take a public holiday off work with regular pay. In recent years this tradition has changed somewhat. For example, businesses that normally open on a public holiday may request employees to work on that day. Employers can deny employees a holiday only on reasonable business grounds.
The public sector is the part of the economy composed of both public services and public enterprises.
The private sector is the part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the State.
Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products. Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit. It does not mean it is a company, a corporation, partnership, or have any such formal organization, but it can range from a street peddler to General Motors."
From 2006, WorkChoices entirely eliminated the entitlement to penalty rates in many workplaces; however since the implementation of the Fair Work Act 2009 and the modern awards in 2010, most public-holiday penalty rates have increased dramatically.[ citation needed ]As of 2018 [update] employees generally receive pay at a penalty rate—usually 2.5 times (known as "double time and a half") the base rate of pay—when they work on a public holiday.
WorkChoices was the name given to changes made to the federal industrial relations laws in Australia by the Howard Government in 2005, being amendments to the Workplace Relations Act 1996 by the Workplace Relations Amendment Act 2005, that came into effect on 27 March 2006.
The Fair Work Act 2009 is an Australian law passed by the Rudd Government after coming into power in 2007 to reform the industrial relations system in Australia. It replaced the previous Howard Government's WorkChoices legislation. It started operation on 1 July 2009.
Besides designating days as public holidays, Australian authorities also designate some of these days as restricted trading days.
Public holidays are determined by a combination of:
If a standard public holiday falls on a weekend, a substitute public holiday will sometimes be observed on the first non-weekend day (usually Monday) after the weekend, whether by virtue of the public holiday legislation or by ad hoc proclamation. Workers required to work on a public holiday or substituted public holiday will usually be entitled to remuneration at a holiday penalty rate.
All states have their own public holidays in addition to national public holidays, and in some states public holidays, such as Melbourne Cup Day, are provided[ by whom? ] on a local basis.
Alcohol licences in several states prevent sale of alcohol on certain public holidays, such as Good Friday.
Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, and Black Friday.
|1 January||New Year's Day|
|26 January||Australia Day|
|2nd Monday in February||No||No||No||No||No||H Royal Hobart Regatta||No||No|
|1st Monday in March||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Labour Day|
|2nd Monday in March||Canberra Day||No||No||No||March Public Holiday (Adelaide Cup)*||Eight Hours Day||Labour Day||No|
|variable date||Good Friday|
|Easter Saturday||The day after Good Friday||No||Saturday before Easter Sunday||No|
|Easter Sunday||No||Easter Sunday||No||No||Easter Sunday||No|
|No||No||No||No||No||C Easter Tuesday||No||No|
|25 April||ANZAC Day|
|1st Monday in May||No||No||May Day||Labour Day||No||No||No||No|
|1st Monday after or on 27 May||Reconciliation Day||No||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|1st Monday in June||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Western Australia Day|
|2nd Monday in June||Queen's Birthday||No||Queen's Birthday||No|
|1st Monday in August||No||No||Picnic Day||No||No||No||No||No|
|variable date||No||No||No||B Royal Queensland Show||No||No||No||No|
|As proclaimed by the Governor of Western Australia (September/October)||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Queen's Birthday|
|Day before the last Saturday in September or first Saturday in October||No||No||No||No||No||No||Friday before the Australian Football League Grand Final||No|
|1st Monday in October||Labour Day||No||Queen's Birthday||Labour Day||No||No||No|
|1st Monday in November||No||No||No||No||No||NH Recreation Day||No||No|
|1st Tuesday of November||No||No||No||No||No||No||Melbourne Cup†||No|
|24 December||No||No**||P Christmas Eve||No||P Christmas Eve||No||No||No|
|25 December||Christmas Day|
|26 December||Boxing Day||Proclamation Day||Boxing Day|
|31 December||No||No||P New Year's Eve||No||P New Year's Eve||No||No||No|
|Total holidays||13||11||11 + 2 part days||11||11 + 2 part days||12||13||10|
When a public holiday falls on a weekend, the following work day may be considered a public holiday depending on the state/territory and the holiday in question.
|New Year's Day||Yes|
|Easter Monday||Not applicable (always on a Monday)||Yes (when another public holiday coincides)|
|Boxing Day/Proclamation Day||Yes||Yes||Yes||Sunday only||Yes|
|New Year's Eve||Not applicable (not a holiday)||Sunday only||Not applicable (not a holiday)|
Note: Holidays that always fall on a particular day of the week are not listed in this table. Prior to 2008, Victorian law only specified substitute holidays for New Year and Boxing Day, and only if they fell on a Sunday.From 2008, Victorian law specifies the substitute holidays in the table above.
Since Easter Monday can occur as late as 26 April (see Date of Easter) it is possible for the Easter Monday holiday to coincide with Anzac Day, as occurred in 2011. State Acts do not give a provision to separate the days when this occurs, so no additional public holiday is given by law. However an extra day is usually proclaimed by the minister, so as to have a steady number of public holidays each year.In the year 2038, Anzac Day will coincide with Easter Sunday.
Nationally, Australia Day was originally celebrated on 30 July 1915
Recorded celebrations of the 26 January date back to 1808 in Australia, and in 1818, Governor Lachlan Macquarie held the first official celebration of Australia Day.26 January was chosen because it is the day of the establishment of the first British settlement at Port Jackson by Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788. It was made a public holiday in New South Wales in 1836, and Victoria adopted the day as a public holiday in 1931. The 26 January commenced to be recognised by all states and territories as Australia Day in 1946.
Australia Day has been celebrated as a national public holiday on 26 January since 1994.
Since 1960, the winner of the Australian of the Year award is announced by the Prime Minister on the eve of Australia Day (25 Jan).
Labour Day commemorates the achievements of the Australian labour movement. The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest. On 21 April 1856 Stonemasons and building workers on building sites around Melbourne, Australia, stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an eight-hour day. Their direct action protest was a success, and they are noted as the first organised workers in the world to achieve an eight-hour day with no loss of pay, which subsequently inspired the celebration of Labour Day and May Day. In Tasmania the public holiday is called Eight Hours Day and in the Northern Territory it is called May Day.
The Labour Day public holiday varies considerably between the various states and territories. It is the first Monday in October in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and South Australia. In Western Australia, it is the first Monday in March. In both Victoria and Tasmania, it is the second Monday in March. In the Northern Territory, and in Queenslandit is the first Monday in May.
The days of Easter vary each year depending on the day determined by the Western Christian calendar. Until 1994 Easter Tuesday was a Bank Holiday in Victoria (it retains this status partially in Tasmania). The day after Good Friday and before Easter Sunday is traditionally known as Holy Saturday. However, the states where that day is a public holiday use different terminology – it is officially gazetted as "Easter Saturday" in the ACT, New South Wales, and the Northern Territory;as "the day after Good Friday" in Queensland and South Australia; and as "Saturday before Easter Sunday" in Victoria.
ANZAC Day is a day on which the country remembers those citizens who fell fighting or who served the country in wars. ANZAC Day is commemorated on 25 April every year. The tradition began to remember the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers who landed at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.
ANZAC Day commemoration features marches by veterans and by solemn "Dawn Services", a tradition started in Albany, Western Australia on 25 April 1923 and now held at war memorials around the country, accompanied by thoughts of those lost at war to the ceremonial sounds of The Last Post on the bugle. The fourth stanza of Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen (known as the "Ode of Remembrance") is often recited.
In all states and territories except Queenslandand Western Australia, Queen's Birthday is observed on the second Monday in June. Because Western Australia celebrates Western Australia Day (formerly Foundation Day) on the first Monday in June, the Governor of Western Australia proclaims the day on which the state will observe the Queen's Birthday, based on school terms and the Perth Royal Show. There is no firm rule to determine this date before it is proclaimed, though it is typically the last Monday of September or the first Monday of October: in 2011 the Queen's Birthday holiday in Western Australia was moved from Monday, 3 October 2011 to Friday, 28 October 2011 to coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which was held in Perth. In Queensland, it is celebrated on the 1st Monday in October.
The day has been celebrated since 1788, when Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to mark the birthday of King George III. Until 1936 it was held on the actual birthday of the Monarch, but after the death of King George V, it was decided to keep the date at mid-year.
On that day the "Queen's Birthday honours list" is released naming new members of the Order of Australia and other Australian honours. This occurs on the date observed in the Eastern States, not the date observed in Western Australia.
The Queen's Birthday weekend and Empire Day, 24 May, were long the traditional times for public fireworks displays in Australia. Although they still occur, the tradition has recently been overshadowed by larger New Year's Eve fireworks, as the sale of fireworks to the public was banned by the states in the 1980s, and in the ACT as of 24 August 2009.
Christmas is observed on 25 December each year to commemorate the birth of Jesus. In Australia, it was introduced with British settlement in 1788 as the cultural norms were transferred to the new colonies. Though a Christian religious festival, it does not breach the constitution's separation of Church and State provision, because it is declared under State law, which is not subject to the provision.
Boxing Day is on the day after Christmas, i.e. 26 December each year, except in South Australia. In South Australia, the first otherwise working day after Christmas is a public holiday called Proclamation Day.
Boxing Day is noted for the start of the post-Christmas sale season. The day has also become a significant sporting day. Melbourne hosts the Boxing Day Test match; the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race also starts on this day.
The days are set in the "Holidays Act 1983". Holidays Act 1983 Most public holidays include a second public holiday on a week-day if they happen to fall on Saturday or Sunday. In which case, both days are public holidays.
For public holidays in 2017–2019: see
Because of the variable days of Easter, Anzac day could fall on an Easter holiday. When ANZAC falls on Saturday, there is no week day public holiday. In such situations it is generally expected that the minister will proclaim extra public holidays on week-days to ensure every year has the same number of public holidays on week-days.
The minister of the state may proclaim and adjustments or additions, such as the date of the Brisbane Ekka Show day holiday. This day has historically always been proclaimed for the second Wednesday in August, except if there are 5 Wednesday's in August, in which case the third Wednesday in August. See
Public holidays generally follow the national pattern, but special cases are resolved by the State Government and advised by proclamation. Details of future holidays can be found on the NSW Industrial Relations website. Public holidays are regulated by the New South Wales Public Holidays Act 2010 No 115, which supersedes the Banks and Bank Holidays Act 1912 No 43.
The first Monday in August is a Bank Holiday, during which banks and financial institutions are closed.
Public holidays in Victoria are regulated by the Victorian Public Holidays Act 1993.
Victorian employees fall under the Workchoices system either as coming within the Commonwealth constitutional power (called "constitutional corporation employees") or because of Victoria's referral of its legislative powers to the Commonwealth for particular workplace relations matters.
Employee entitlements to public holidays and additional pay depend on whether they are covered by a federal award or agreement.
Employees not covered by a federal award or agreement are entitled to public holidays under the Victorian Public Holidays Act 1993. Also, all permanent employees not covered by a federal award or agreement who would normally work on a public holiday (or a substitute public holiday) are entitled to the holiday without loss of pay. Their employers are not required to provide additional payment if they work on a public holiday, but this does not exclude the possibility of employees and employers negotiating for additional pay.
Employees who are covered by a federal award or agreement are entitled to public holidays as provided by the relevant federal award or agreement and the Public Holidays Act 1993. Many federal awards and agreements also provide for additional penalty rates for work performed on a public holiday.
Restricted shop trading laws apply to Good Friday, Christmas Day and before 1 pm on Anzac Day. On these days only exempted businesses are permitted to open for trading. All public holidays and substitute public holidays are bank holidays.
In August 2015, the day before the AFL Grand Final, as well as Easter Sunday, were gazetted as Public Holidays within Victoria. This date of the holiday is as gazetted by the Victorian Government and cannot be accurately predicted.
The Victorian public holidays are as follows:
|New Year||1 January|
|Australia Day||26 January|
|Labour Day||2nd Monday in March|
|Good Friday||Friday before Easter|
|Holy Saturday||Day before Easter|
|Easter Sunday||Day of Easter|
|Easter Monday||Day after Easter|
|Anzac Day||25 April|
|Queen's Birthday||2nd Monday in June|
|Day before Australian Football League Grand Final||Variable date in late September/early October|
|Melbourne Cup Day||1st Tuesday of November*|
|Boxing Day||26 December|
* Melbourne Cup Day is observed in most of the state, but various cup days and show days in the state's west are locally substituted. See the list at .
Melbourne Show Day used to be observed on the Thursday in the last full week of September as a half-day public holiday—later changing to full day—until 1994 (abolished by the state government).Easter Tuesday was observed as a Bank Holiday in Victoria until 1994 (also abolished by the state government).
Penalty rates are the rates of pay which an employee is paid higher than their standard base rate for working at times or on days, such as public holidays, which are outside the normal working week.They were introduced in 1947 for workers working on the Sabbath, as most workers were Christian, while today, these rates of pay are set by the Fair Work Ombudsman.
A bank holiday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom, some Commonwealth countries, Hong Kong and the Republic of Ireland. There is no automatic right to time off on these days, but banks close and the majority of the working population is granted time off work or extra pay for working on these days, depending on their contract. The first official bank holidays were the four days named in the Bank Holidays Act 1871, but today the term is also commonly used for Good Friday and Christmas Day, which were already public holidays under common law and therefore not official bank holidays in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Customs and regulations for shopping hours vary from countries to cities.
These are the public holidays observed in Ireland. Public holidays in Ireland may commemorate a special day or other event, such as Saint Patrick's Day or Christmas Day. On public holidays, most businesses and schools close. Other services, for example, public transport, still operate but often with reduced schedules.
Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is a holiday in some countries. Easter Monday in the Western Christian liturgical calendar is the second day of Eastertide and analogously in the Byzantine Rite is the second day of Bright Week.
Public holidays in New Zealand consist of a variety of cultural, national, and religious holidays that are legislated in New Zealand. Workers can get a maximum of 11 public holidays and a minimum of 20 annual leave days a year.
Public holidays and statutory holidays in Hong Kong are holidays designated by the Government of Hong Kong. They allow workers rest from work, usually in conjunction with special occasions.
The Queen's Official Birthday, or the King's Official Birthday, is the selected day in some Commonwealth realms on which the birthday of the monarch is officially celebrated in those countries. It does not necessarily correspond to the date of the monarch's actual birth.
Public holidays in Canada, known as statutory holidays, stat holidays, or simply stats, consist of a variety of cultural, nationalistic, and religious holidays that are legislated in Canada at the federal or provincial and territorial levels. While many of these holidays are honoured and acknowledged nationwide, provincial and territorial legislation varies in regard to which are officially recognized.
Public holidays in Malaysia are regulated at both federal and state levels, mainly based on a list of federal holidays observed nationwide plus a few additional holidays observed by each individual state and federal territory. The public holidays are a mix of secular holidays celebrating the nation and its history, and selected traditional holidays of the various ethnic and religious groups that make up the country.
In Mexico there are three major kinds of public holidays:
There are eleven public holidays in Singapore. Each major local race and religion have two holidays each in addition to the secular holidays of New Year's Day, Labour Day and National Day. For the Chinese, Chinese New Year and the Buddhist holiday Vesak Day are also observed. For the Hindus, Deepavali is celebrated. For the Muslims, the two Islamic holidays of Hari Raya Aidil Fitri and Hari Raya Aidil Adha are celebrated. As for the Christians, the two Christian holidays of Good Friday and Christmas Day are celebrated. These public holidays have been recognised since Singapore's 1966 Holidays Act.
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA) is the largest private sector trade union in Australia with more than 200,000 members. It has branches in every state and territory representing retail, fast-food and warehousing workers.
Family Day is a public holiday in South Africa, and in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and soon New Brunswick, in the American states of Arizona and Nevada, in Uruguay, in Vanuatu, in Vietnam, in the Australian Capital Territory, and as the second day of Songkran in Thailand.
In the United Kingdom, public holidays are days on which most businesses and non-essential services are closed, although an increasing number of retail businesses do open on some of the public holidays. There are restrictions on trading on Sundays and Christmas Day in England and Wales and on New Year's Day and Christmas Day in Scotland. Legally defined holidays, analogous to "public holidays" in many other countries, are usually called bank holidays in the United Kingdom, but can also be referred to as "public holidays"; strictly, however, "public holidays" refer to "common law holidays", the observance of which derive from custom and practice.
The workweek and weekend are the complementary parts of the week devoted to labor and rest, respectively. The legal working week, or workweek, is the part of the seven-day week devoted to labor. In most of the world, the workweek is from Monday to Friday and the weekend is Saturday and Sunday, but other divisions exist: for example, many countries observing a Sunday to Thursday or even Monday to Thursday working week. A weekday or workday is any day of the working week. Other institutions often follow this pattern, such as places of education. Sometimes the term "weekend" is expanded to include the time after work hours on the last workday of the week; e.g. Friday evening is often referred to as the start of the weekend. The weekend has had varying definitions, such as commencing after 5pm on Friday evening and lasting until Sunday 12pm.
Public holidays in Botswana are largely controlled by government sector employers who are given paid time off. The government holiday schedule mainly benefits employees of government and government regulated businesses. At the discretion of the employer, other non-federal holidays such as Christmas Eve are common additions to the list of paid holidays.
Easter Week is the period of seven days from Easter Sunday through the Saturday following. It follows Holy Week. The synonymous term Octave of Easter indicates the Easter Week together with the Divine Mercy Sunday.
Easter Tuesday is the third day of the Octave of Easter and is a holiday in some areas. Easter Tuesday in the Western Christian liturgical calendar is the third day of Eastertide and analogously in the Byzantine Rite is the third day of Bright Week.
The Anzac Day Act in New Zealand is a law which makes Anzac Day a national holiday in New Zealand.