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The Union wants to be clear about our message to members on 8-hour Monday to Friday shifts around working on a public holiday.

Under the National Employment Standards, you have the right to be absent from work on a public holiday without loss of pay.

However, your employer may roster or request you to work on a public holiday if the request is reasonable.

You may refuse to work the public holiday if the employer’s request is not reasonable OR if your refusal is reasonable.

Whether a request or refusal is reasonable depends on a range of factors including:
  • the operational requirements of the workplace, and the nature of your work;
  • your personal circumstances, including family responsibilities;
  • whether you could reasonably expect the employer to ask you to work on a public holiday;
  • whether you receive penalty rates for working the public holiday;
  • whether you are casual, full-time or part-time, or whether or not you work shiftwork;
  • how much notice your employer gives you that you have to work the public holiday, and how much notice you give your employer when refusing to work; and
  • anything else that could be relevant.   
Members have explained that, if you work each day from Monday to Friday at Bega’s Chelsea Heights, you have been rostered to work every public holiday that falls on a weekday for the next 12 months.
You have told us that this is unfair, and we agree – you only get four weeks of annual leave per year and want the benefit of having a day off on public holidays too. Just as most other manufacturing workers do. Members want to bring the right to take public holidays off as a claim in bargaining. We agree that the best way to fight for public holidays off is during bargaining for the replacement Agreement, and your union stands with you.