How complex is a one-off public holiday for payroll?

How complex is a one-off public holiday for payroll?
Kirsty Martin
Kirsty Martin
minute read
September 12, 2022
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Payroll professionals waking up on Sunday morning would not have expected the change (could we suggest chaos?) that was imminent for their week ahead. A one-off public holiday announced for the 22nd of September as a day of mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II throws a bit of a spanner in the payroll works. This announcement is hitting at a time when monthly payroll that is due on or before the 15th of the month is well underway, if not already completed, which spells a plethora of manual adjustments.  

In general, employees have the right to be away from work on a public holiday, with permanent employees who normally work on that day owed a form of payment. Simple so far, right? However, what that payment is will depend on the industrial instrument they are paid in accordance with. If an employee does need to work on the public holiday, they are due additional entitlements. This could include extra pay, a substitute day off, or additional annual leave. Under some awards, minimum shift lengths will also need to be considered if requesting an employee to work on a public holiday.   

For our payroll folk now grappling with these sudden changes, these are some of the considerations to take into account: 

  • Updating the time & attendance and payroll systems to allocate the 22nd of September as a public holiday; 
  • Any updates to the roster or shift patterns being worked, and the associated penalties and triggers; 
  • Leave applications that are in process, or have already been processed, now require manual adjustment as not all systems will automatically adjust to reflect the change in leave type; 
  • If the new public holiday impacts the regular processing cycle, do existing timelines need to change to allow for payroll personnel, team leaders, and authorised approvers not being available on the 22nd?;
  • Banks not processing payments and what impact that has on timelines (with the added complexity for Victoria having the 23rd and Western Australia having the 26th as their standard public holidays); and
  • The influx of leave applications for people wanting to take the chance to have an extended long weekend. 

Taking all of the above into consideration, we think the most important question to ask your payroll team is whether they prefer coffee or chocolate? 

* Yellow Canary content on this website is intended solely for the purpose of offering commentary and general knowledge. The content is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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