A recent court ruling mandates that employers cannot automatically roster their employees on public holidays and must ask them if they want to work. This ruling applies to all workplaces and overrides any contracts or agreements. Failure to comply with the ruling may result in civil penalties for employers.

What Does the Ruling Mean?

The ruling aims to address the power imbalance between employers and employees, allowing for discussion and negotiation. Employers can still require their employees to work on a public holiday if the refusal is deemed unreasonable, given the work’s nature, pay level, and other relevant factors.


To comply with this ruling, employers should:

  • Provide workers with a genuine choice to refuse to work on public holidays, even if their contracts say otherwise.
  • Include public holidays in your rosters, but ensure that employees understand that the roster is in draft or that a request has been made before the roster is finalized.
  • Issue separate requests for employees to work on public holidays rather than relying on contractual requirements.
  • Consult with employees and their representatives and seek legal advice to ensure compliance with this ruling.

Overall, providing a genuine choice to your employees and engaging in discussion and negotiation can help you comply with the recent court ruling. Don’t hesitate to consult with employees, their representatives, and legal experts to ensure your workplace complies.