Dismissed before Easter: do we pay public holidays?

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Dismissed before Easter: do we pay public holidays?

If a dismissed employee's last day of work was the day before Good Friday, is he entitled to the Easter public holidays? Paul Munro explains.

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If a dismissed employee's last day of work was the day before Good Friday, is he entitled to the Easter public holidays?

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Q We recently dismissed an employee due to poor performance who had been employed for about five months. The employee was given one week’s notice as required under the National Employment Standards. The company operates in the textile industry. The employee’s last day at work was the Thursday before Good Friday.

The employee has questioned their termination pay, stating they have an entitlement to the three public holidays that fell over the Easter break. There is nothing in the relevant award (Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award 2010) which would provide such an entitlement.

Is the employee entitled to payment for the Easter public holidays because of the date of the employee’s termination?

A The applicable modern award does not contain terms which provide an entitlement to payment for the public holidays in this circumstance. This means the employee’s wages are payable up to and including the date of termination (the day before Good Friday). However, if, the one week’s notice had been given to the employee on the day before Good Friday, the Easter public holidays would form part of the one week’s notice and the date of termination would be the following Thursday.

Prior to the introduction of the Fair Work Act, a number of federal awards provided payment for a public holiday(s) that fell within a specified period after the date of termination, including the textile, clothing and footwear industries. These terms are no longer provided in the applicable modern award.

The bottom line: An employee is not entitled to payment for a public holiday that falls after the date of termination of the employment. However, a public holiday that falls during a period of notice forms part of the period but does not extend the period of the notice.
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