Public holidays in Australia

Knowing the dates public holidays in Australia fall on is crucial – they can have different pay rates and benefits than regular workdays

Public holidays in Australia
Contents
  1. How many public holidays does Australia have?    
  2. Public holidays in Australian Capital Territory
  3. Public holidays in New South Wales    
  4. Public holidays in Northern Territory
  5. Public holidays in Queensland    
  6. Public holidays in South Australia
  7. Public holidays in Tasmania    
  8. Public holidays in Victoria
  9.  Public holidays in Western Australia   
  10. Australian public holidays FAQs

Updated January 9,2024

Getting acquainted with how public holidays work in Australia is a crucial step in fulfilling your obligations to employees. Being aware of the dates of public holidays each year is essential as these may entail different pay rates and entitlements.

HRD breaks down what employers need to know about public holidays in Australia. We’ll go through each state and territory’s public holidays, provisions when a holiday falls on a weekend, and whether they have bank holidays or not. 

How many public holidays does Australia have?

Public holidays are part of the National Employment Standards (NES). The NES applies to all employees covered by the national workplace relations system, regardless of any award, registered agreement, or employment contract.

Australia has eight public holidays under the NES: 

  • New Year's Day – 1 January (Monday)
  • Australia Day – 26 January (Friday)
  • Good Friday – 29 March
  • Easter Monday – 1 April
  • Anzac Day – 25 April (Thursday)
  • King's Birthday – 12 June (Wednesday)
  • Christmas Day – 25 December (Wednesday)
  • Boxing Day – 26 December (Thursday)

Each state and territory government declares its own public holidays separately. The public holidays you observe may vary based on the state or territory where your business operates. You can check the NES Public Holidays website for more information.

Public holidays in Australian Capital Territory

There are 13 public holidays in the Australian Capital Territory for 2024:

  • New Year's Day – 1 January (Monday)
  • Australia Day – 26 January (Friday)
  • Canberra Day – 11 March (Monday)
  • Good Friday – 29 March
  • Easter Saturday – 30 March
  • Easter Sunday – 31 March
  • Easter Monday – 1 April
  • Anzac Day – 25 April (Thursday)
  • Reconciliation Day – 27 May (Monday)
  • King's Birthday – 12 June (Wednesday)
  • Labour Day – 7 October (Monday)
  • Christmas Day – 25 December (Wednesday)
  • Boxing Day – 26 December (Thursday)

Does the ACT have bank holidays?

The ACT observes bank holidays as per the Holidays Act 1958, alongside the public holidays mentioned above.

The first Monday in August is recognized as a bank holiday. However, bank holidays don’t apply to everyone. That's why it’s advisable for employers and employees to refer to the Holidays Act 1958 and their relevant Enterprise Agreement or Award for further information on bank holidays.

Public holidays in New South Wales

NSW has 12 public holidays lined up for 2024:

  • New Year's Day – 1 January (Monday)
  • Australia Day – 26 January (Friday)
  • Good Friday – 29 March
  • Easter Saturday – 30 March
  • Easter Sunday – 31 March
  • Easter Monday – 1 April
  • Anzac Day – 25 April (Thursday)
  • King's Birthday – 10 June (Monday)
  • Bank Holiday – 5 August (Monday)
  • Labour Day – 7 October (Monday)
  • Christmas Day – 25 December (Wednesday)
  • Boxing Day – 26 December (Thursday)

What happens when an NSW public holiday falls on a weekend?

If New Year's Day, Christmas Day, or Boxing Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then there will be an extra public holiday on the following Monday or Tuesday. 

Similarly, the public holiday standard in the Public Holidays Act 2010 provides that if Australia Day falls on a weekend, the public holiday is moved to the following Monday. 

Anzac Day is always observed on the 25th of April, regardless of the day of the week.

Public holidays in Northern Territory

There are 14 public holidays with two part-day holidays in the Northern Territory for 2024:

  • New Year's Day – 1 January (Monday)
  • Australia Day – 26 January (Friday)
  • Good Friday – 29 March
  • Easter Saturday – 30 March
  • Easter Sunday – 31 March
  • Easter Monday – 1 April
  • Anzac Day – 25 April (Thursday)
  • May Day – 6 May (Monday)
  • King's Birthday – 10 June (Monday)
  • Picnic Day – 5 August (Monday)
  • Christmas Eve – 24 December (Tuesday; part-day holiday from 7pm to midnight)
  • Christmas Day – 25 December (Wednesday)
  • Boxing Day – 26 December (Thursday)
  • New Year’s Eve – 31 December (Tuesday; part-day holiday from 7pm to midnight)

Regional holidays in Northern Territory

Regional holidays are public holidays observed in the regions on their respective annual show days. There are five regional show day holidays in NT: 

  • Alice Springs Show Day – 5 July (Friday)
  • Tennant Creek Show Day – 12 July (Friday)
  • Katherine Show Day – 19 July (Friday)
  • Darwin Show Day – 26 July (Friday)
  • Borroloola Show Day – 16 August (Friday)

Public holidays in Queensland

Queensland has declared 13 public holidays with a part-day holiday in 2024:

  • New Year's Day – 1 January (Monday)
  • Australia Day – 26 January (Friday)
  • Good Friday – 29 March
  • The day after Good Friday – 30 March (Saturday)
  • Easter Sunday – 31 March
  • Easter Monday – 1 April
  • Anzac Day – 25 April (Thursday)
  • Labour Day – 6 May (Monday)
  • Royal Queensland Show (Brisbane only) – 14 August (Wednesday)
  • King's Birthday – 7 October (Monday)
  • Christmas Eve – 24 December (Tuesday; part-day holiday from 6pm to midnight)
  • Christmas Day – 25 December (Wednesday)
  • Boxing Day – 26 December (Thursday)

What is the Royal Queensland Show holiday?

In Brisbane, the Royal National Agricultural (RNA) Show Day is celebrated on the Wednesday during the RNA Show period. The RNA Show begins on the first Friday of August, unless it falls before the 5th of the month, in which case it starts on the second Friday of August.

When are Labour Day and the Birthday of the Sovereign observed in Queensland?

Since 2016, the Holidays Act 1983 has specified that the Labour Day public holiday is to be observed on the first Monday in May. The Birthday of the Sovereign (King's Birthday) public holiday is to be observed on the first Monday in October. 

What happens when a public holiday in Queensland falls on a weekend? 

Since Christmas Day 2011, the Holidays Act 1983 has allowed for an additional public holiday when Christmas Day, Boxing Day, or New Year's Day falls on a weekend.

Public holidays in South Australia

South Australia has 13 public holidays lined up for 2024, two of which are part-day holidays:

  • New Year's Day – 1 January (Monday)
  • Australia Day – 26 January (Friday)
  • Adelaide Cup Day – 11 March (Monday; subject to proclamation)
  • Good Friday – 29 March
  • Easter Saturday – 30 March
  • Easter Monday – 1 April
  • Anzac Day – 25 April (Thursday)
  • King's Birthday/Volunteer’s Day – 10 June (Monday)
  • Labour Day – 7 October (Monday)
  • Christmas Eve – 24 December (Tuesday; part-day holiday from 7pm to midnight)
  • Christmas Day – 25 December (Wednesday)
  • Boxing Day/Proclamation Day – 26 December (Thursday)
  • New Year’s Eve – 31 December (Tuesday; part-day holiday from 7pm to midnight)

What happens when an SA public holiday falls on a weekend?

When a public holiday falls on a Saturday

If New Year's Day, Australia Day, Christmas Day, or Proclamation Day falls on a Saturday, the public holiday is rescheduled to the following Monday. Saturday is not observed as a public holiday but is still considered a bank holiday.

When a public holiday falls on a Sunday

If New Year's Day, Australia Day, Anzac Day, or Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, both that day and the following Monday will be observed as public holidays and bank holidays.

When Proclamation Day falls on a Sunday or Monday, both that day and the following Tuesday will be observed as public holidays and bank holidays.

For industrial purposes, the provisions governing Sunday included in an Award or Enterprise Agreement will generally take precedence over the provisions governing public holidays unless stated otherwise.

How do part-day public holidays affect SA employees? 

Employees who work between 7pm and 12 midnight on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are entitled to receive public holiday rates based on their relevant Award or Enterprise Agreement. The rule applies even if these holidays fall on a Saturday or Sunday. 

For part-day public holidays for workers covered by the national workplace relations system, the Public Holidays NES applies. 

Public holidays in Tasmania

There are 10 public holidays in Tasmania for 2024:

  • New Year's Day – 1 January (Monday)
  • Australia Day – 26 January (Friday)
  • Eight Hours Day – 11 March (Monday)
  • Good Friday – 29 March
  • Easter Monday – 1 April
  • Easter Tuesday – 2 April (Exclusive to Tasmanian Public Service)
  • Anzac Day – 25 April (Thursday)
  • King's Birthday – 10 June (Monday)
  • Christmas Day – 25 December (Wednesday)
  • Boxing Day – 26 December (Thursday)

What happens when a public holiday in Tasmania falls on a weekend?

When New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Christmas Day, or Boxing Day fall on a weekend, the holiday is observed on the following Monday, or in some cases Tuesday. The following arrangements apply:

  • If Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, then both the Saturday and the following Monday are public holidays.
  • If Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, then both the Sunday and the following Tuesday are public holidays.
  • If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, then the following Monday becomes the public holiday.
  • If Boxing Day falls on a Sunday, then the following Tuesday becomes the public holiday. 
  • When Anzac Day falls on a weekend, no substitute or additional holiday is observed.

Regional holidays in Tasmania

Some parts of Tasmania celebrate regional holidays:

  • Devonport Cup (Tasmanian Public Service) – 10 January (Wednesday)
  • Royal Hobart Regatta – 12 February (Monday)
  • Launceston Cup (Tasmanian Public Service) – 28 February (Wednesday)
  • King Island Show – 5 March (Tuesday)
  • AGFEST – 3 May (Friday)
  • Burnie Show – 4 October (Friday)
  • Royal Launceston Show – 10 October (Thursday)
  • Flinders Island Show – 18 October (Friday)
  • Royal Hobart Show – 24 October (Thursday)
  • Recreation Day – 4 November (Monday)
  • Devonport Show – 29 November (Friday)

Public holidays in Victoria

The following are declared public holidays in Victoria for 2024:

  • New Year's Day – 1 January (Monday)
  • Australia Day – 26 January (Friday)
  • Labour Day – 11 March (Monday)
  • Good Friday – 29 March
  • Saturday before Easter Sunday – 30 March
  • Easter Monday – 1 April
  • Anzac Day – 25 April (Thursday)
  • King's Birthday – 10 June (Monday)
  • Friday before the AFL Grand Final – Subject to AFL schedule
  • Melbourne Cup – 5 November (Tuesday)
  • Christmas Day – 25 December (Wednesday)
  • Boxing Day – 26 December (Thursday)

How will I know the date for the Friday before the AFL Grand Final?

The Friday before the AFL Grand Final typically occurs on the last Friday in September. To confirm the exact date for the 2024 AFL schedule release, check the official website of the State Government of Victoria.

Is the Melbourne Cup Day a public holiday for all of Victoria?

Unless a non-metropolitan municipality arranges for an alternate local holiday, the Melbourne Cup public holiday applies to all of Victoria.

Public holidays in Western Australia

There are 11 public holidays in WA for 2024:

  • New Year's Day – 1 January (Monday)
  • Australia Day – 26 January (Friday)
  • Labour Day – 4 March (Monday)
  • Good Friday – 29 March
  • Easter Sunday – 31 March
  • Easter Monday – 1 April
  • Western Australia Day – 3 June (Monday)
  • King's Birthday – 23 September (Monday)
  • Christmas Day – 25 December (Wednesday)
  • Boxing Day – 26 December (Thursday)

What happens when a public holiday in WA falls on a weekend?

If New Year's Day, Anzac Day, or Christmas Day lands on a Saturday or Sunday, the next Monday will be observed as a public holiday.

If Boxing Day is on a Saturday, the next Monday will also be considered a public holiday. If it falls on a Sunday or Monday, the next Tuesday will be considered a public holiday as well.

Regional holidays in WA

Certain regional areas in Western Australia have traditionally observed the King's Birthday public holiday on a different date. This is usually done to coincide with an important occasion or event in that area. 

Once announced, the official website of the Government of Western Australia will provide the dates for the 2024 regional King's Birthday public holiday.

Australian public holidays FAQs

Do Australians get public holidays off?

Yes. By law, all employees in Australia are entitled to take the day off on public holidays. However, employers can ask employees to work on a public holiday if the request is reasonable.

Do Australians get paid on public holidays?

When working on public holidays, employees are guaranteed to receive at least their base pay rate. And depending on the industry and employment agreements, they may also receive additional benefits including:

If an employee is absent from work on a public holiday, they are entitled to receive their base pay rate for the ordinary hours they would have worked. This is regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time employees. 

If an employee doesn't have any ordinary hours of work on the public holiday, they are not entitled to payment.

The Fair Work Ombudsman provides a Pay and Conditions Tool on its website where employees and employers can calculate pay and entitlements.

Can an employee be forced to work on a public holiday in Australia?

An employer can request an employee to work on a public holiday based on reasonable grounds. An employee has the right to refuse to work on reasonable grounds. 

When deciding whether an employer's request or an employee's refusal to work on a public holiday is reasonable, the following factors must be considered, according to the Fair Work Act:

Factors to consider when asking an employee to work on public holidays in Australia

What happens when a public holiday falls on an employee’s leave period?

When a public holiday coincides with an employee's leave, their entitlement to the holiday depends on whether they are taking paid or unpaid leave.

When an employee is on paid leave

If an employee is on paid leave during a public holiday, they are entitled to receive payment for that holiday, including any hours falling on a part-day public holiday.

However, if an employee is on unpaid parental leave combined with annual leave, they are not eligible for public holiday pay. The public holiday will not be counted as annual or sick leave.

Here are the different instances to consider: 

  • If an employee takes sick leave on either side of a public holiday, they should still receive payment for the public holiday if it falls on a regular workday. The usual sick leave policies apply, and the employer may request evidence for the leave taken.
  • If an employee is scheduled to work on a public holiday on a non-working day but calls in sick, they are not eligible for payment for that day.
  • If an employee is taking long service leave on a public holiday, whether an employee receives public holiday pay is determined by the long service leave legislation in the state or territory where they work.

When an employee is on unpaid leave

When an employee is on unpaid leave, they do not receive payment for any public holidays during that period.

Because on the varying state and territory rules, public holidays in Australia can be a bit complex. HR leaders must remain vigilant year after year to make sure that employees at their workplace are getting the holiday benefits and compensation that they are entitled to.

You can keep abreast of the latest updates on employee rights and employment regulations by visiting our Employment Law News Section. Here, you can find breaking news and the latest developments on Australia’s workplace legislation.

Do you have any questions about public holidays in Australia? Let us know in the comments section below.

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