2021 Public Holidays and Your Entitlements

Leading up to a public holiday the SDA is inundated with calls from members seeking clarity regarding their public holiday entitlements and conditions.

The best resource relating to your public holiday entitlements is the Award or Agreement which covers you at work. You can view this at any time by logging-in on the SDA website: www.sdan.org.au/login

It might seem daunting reading your Award or Agreement, however, they all have a ‘table of contents’ and will tell you which page to find your public holiday entitlements on. It is key to be able to turn to this document for clarity or education about what you are entitled to.

Your in-store Delegate may also be able to assist you.

Public holidays vary depending on the State or Territory you work in. It's important to know when public holidays are because employees have different entitlements on these days.


NSW Public Holidays 2021 (including Dec 2020)

  • Fri, 25 Dec 2020 – Christmas Day
  • Sat, 26 Dec 2020 – Boxing Day
  • Mon, 28 Dec 2020 – Boxing Day Additional Holiday
  • Fri, 1 Jan 2021 - New Year's Day
  • Tues, 26 Jan 2021 - Australia Day
  • Fri, 2 Apr 2021 - Good Friday
  • Sat, 3 Apr 2021 - Easter Saturday
  • Sun, 4 Apr 2021 - Easter Sunday
  • Mon, 5 Apr 2021 - Easter Monday
  • Sun, 25 Apr 2021 - Anzac Day
  • Mon, 14 Jun 2021 - Queen's Birthday
  • Mon, 2 Aug 2021 - Bank Holiday (applies to banks and certain financial institutions)
  • Mon, 4 Oct 2021 - Labour Day
  • Sat, 25 Dec 2021 - Christmas Day
  • Sun, 26 Dec 2021 - Boxing Day
  • Mon, 27 Dec 2021 – Christmas Day Additional Holiday
  • Tues, 28 Dec 2021 – Boxing Day Additional Holiday


Note: There may be locality days or Union Picnic days (NSW) in addition to the above list of public holidays. These days may not attract public holiday rates or conditions, refer to your specific Award or Agreement.


Additional Public Holidays

The Public Holidays Act 2010 provides that when New Year's Day, Christmas Day or Boxing Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday there is to be an additional public holiday on the following Monday or Tuesday. This holiday season accounts for an additional day to fall on the Monday following Boxing Day. This once again occurs in 2021, where an two additional public holidays are applied, Monday (27 December) and Tuesday (28 December).


Restricted days

Good Friday - is a public holiday and restricted shop trading day in NSW.

Easter Saturday – is a public holiday, but not a restricted trading day in NSW.

Easter Sunday - is a public holiday and restricted shop trading day in NSW. Stores must close on this day unless they have been granted a restricted trading exemption.

Easter Monday – is a public holiday, but not a restricted trading day in NSW.


25 April (Anzac Day) is a restricted shop trading day in NSW until 1.00 pm. This means shops cannot open for customers until after this time.

Christmas Day (25 December) remains a restricted shop trading day in NSW irrespective of the day on which the public holiday is declared.

Boxing Day (26 December) remains a restricted shop trading day in NSW irrespective of the day on which the public holiday is declared.

This year an additional public holiday was declared as Boxing Day falls on a Saturday. The additional day is not a restricted trading day.


Requesting and refusing to work on public holidays

 Employees don't have to work on a public holiday. However, an employer can ask an employee to work on a public holiday, if the request is reasonable. An employee may refuse a request to work if they have reasonable grounds.


The following need to be considered when assessing if a request to refuse is reasonable:

  • The employee's personal circumstances, (e.g. family responsibilities)
  • Whether the employee will get more pay (e.g. penalty rates)
  • The needs of the workplace
  • The type of work the employee does
  • Whether the employee's salary includes work on a public holiday
  • Whether the employee is full-time, part-time, casual or a shift worker
  • How much notice the employee was given about working
  • The amount of notice the employee gives that they refuse to work.


When requesting that an employee work on a public holiday, employers need to consider all relevant circumstances, including the ones listed above.

Often at these times of the year you’re planning Annual leave, School holidays, Religious and/or social activities etc.

For Employers, public holidays can be some of the busiest times and trading days of the year. They should be organised and so should you in advance as to your availability.


2020 has been a difficult year for many, however this period is a great planning opportunity for future interstate travel. If there are public holidays that you would prefer to work, or not work next year, address your availability and discuss planned leave arrangements with your manager as soon as possible to avoid possible issues.


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