Easter work: don’t forget to pay holiday loading

by Stephanie Zillman04 Apr 2012

As more and more Australian employers expect their staff to be on call outside of work hours, and even when they're on holiday, the workplace watchdog has issued a warning to employers to account for public holiday loading. However as employees prepare to log-on over the Easter long weekend, many are not being paid for working overtime, according to a workplace survey.

The survey of 416 finance and accounting professionals and managers in Australia found that over two-thirds (68%) of employers expect their staff to be available to some degree while on annual leave or out of office hours. In particular, many middle and senior managers are finding themselves permanently on call. Of the employers that expect their staff to be available when they are out of the office, nearly three quarters (71%) expect their middle managers to be on call, whilst 88% expect this of their senior management team.

“Although employees across the country are looking forward to the long Easter weekend, the reality is that many will struggle to completely switch off. Mobile technology has created a culture where employees are always connected to work, and many find it difficult to strike a balance,” Andrew Brushfield from Robert Half said.

Whilst some employers are putting pressure on their staff to log-on when they're on holiday, the survey also found many employees are also choosing to do so in order to reduce their workload when they get back to the office. However, many employees are not being rewarded for putting in these longer hours. Just 45% of employees get time off in lieu, and as little as 13% get overtime payment for any additional hours they work.

“Employers need to make sure that their employees get a proper holiday so that they come back to work refreshed and don't burn out. Employers can do this by arranging proper handovers when staff go on holiday, and limiting calls and emails to the person on leave,” Brushfield advised. “Employers can also bring in temporary staff to cover when key employees are on leave, so that important tasks keep moving forward. After all, creating a healthy work-life balance is ultimately crucial to business productivity and staff retention,” he added.

New leave calculator launched by Fair Work

For employers who are unsure of what to pay this weekend or on any other public holiday or period of leave, Fair Work has launched a new leave calculator for annual and personal leave entitlements under the National Employment Standards (NES). Click here to access the leave calculator.


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