Advice Christmas

Public Holiday Pay over Christmas and New Year 2023/2024

Christmas is on its way!

Most permanent employees will be entitled to observe four public holidays over the Christmas period. Depending on their usual days / pattern of work 25, 26 and 27 December and 1, 2 and 3 January are potentially public holidays.

There are four public holidays over Christmas and New Year. The four public holidays are:

  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Boxing Day (26 December)
  • New Years’ Day (1 January)
  • Day after New Years’ Day (2 January).

If the public holiday falls on an ‘otherwise working day’ for your employee, you are required either to:

  1. give them a paid day off; or
  2. to pay time and a half and give them an alternative day off.

If the public holiday is not an otherwise working day, but the employee works, you need to pay them time and a half, but you are not required to provide a day in lieu. If the public holiday is Mondayised or Tuesdayised and these observed days are otherwise working days for the employee, they receive their public holiday entitlement on their normal workday. Even if they work on the actual public holiday (Saturday or Sunday) in the case when this is not an otherwise working day, they receive normal pay for the Saturday or Sunday.

Finding it hard to determine whether the day would be an ‘otherwise working day’ for your employee?

There are no set rules under The Holidays Act 2003 in terms of what is considered a regular pattern of work, so the Act requires you to be pragmatic with the situation. We would advise considering the following factors when deciding who should be eligible to observe the public holiday:

  • the employee’s employment agreement
  • the employee’s work patterns (for example working the previous 3 – 4 Saturdays may indicate they would have likely worked ‘but for’ the PH)
  • whether the employee works for you only when work is available
  • your rosters or other similar systems
  • the reasonable expectations of both you and the employee that the employee would work on the day concerned

Read more about paying your staff over the upcoming public holidays.

If you have any questions about public holiday pay over Christmas and New Year, our Advice Service is here to help. Email us at, or give us a call on 0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia).

Have you had a look at our Christmas Hub? Check it out, for helpful tips about consumer trends and staffing, recruitment, public holidays, and much more!

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