The following is an abridgement of an article originally published on the SafeWork South Australia website.
The South Australian government has introduced a legislation to Parliament that will make Christmas Day and Easter Sunday public holidays every year, regardless of which day of the week they fall on. This will ensure that workers who work on these days will receive public holiday rates and benefits. This will also align South Australia (SA) with the rest of Australia, where these days are already public holidays.
The legislation will also update the public holiday laws to make them more consistent and clearer. It will apply the same rule for other public holidays that fall on a weekend, such as New Year’s Day and Anzac Day. This means that when a public holiday falls on a Saturday, both the Saturday and the Monday will be public holidays and, similarly, when a public holiday falls on a Sunday, both the Sunday and the Monday will be public holidays.
The legislation will increase the number of full-day public holidays in SA from 11 to 12 each year. This is the same as QLD and less than VIC, ACT and NT, which have 13 public holidays per year. The legislation will result in an average of 1.1 additional public holidays per year over the next 10 years. The only change in the 2024 calendar year will be the addition of the Easter Sunday public holiday.
The legislation is based on the Holidays Act 1910, which determines the public holidays and bank holidays in SA. The Act has not been changed since 2012, when Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve were made part-day holidays. The government held a public consultation on the proposed changes earlier this year and received feedback from various stakeholders.
The legislation does not regulate the shop trading hours or the penalty rates for workers who work on public holidays. These are governed by separate laws that are not part of the reforms. The legislation also does not affect the part-day holidays for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, which will remain as they are.
Locking in our major public holidays by SafeWork South Australia, 16th November, 2023.