National Public Holiday Announced for Day of Mourning on Thursday 22 September | NECA

National Public Holiday Announced for Day of Mourning on Thursday 22 September

National Public Holiday Announced for Day of Mourning on Thursday 22 September

The Prime Minister has announced a National Day of Mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, to be held on Thursday 22nd September 2022. This is intended to be a one-off public holiday rather than a recurring one. Both SA and NT governments have followed suit with the declaration, so members need to be aware of what this means for their business and employees. 

What This Means
The National Day of Mourning will be treated in the same way as any other public holiday. This includes:

  • The default position is that employees are entitled to be absent from work on any day that is a public holiday, although an employer may reasonably request an employee to work;
  • Employees (eg. full / part time employees) who are absent on the public holiday are entitled to payment for the public holiday, as with any other public holiday; and
  • Where an employee works on the public holiday, they would be entitled to the penalties / loadings that they would receive on any other public holiday.


Substituting Public Holidays
Under the many Modern Awards (eg. the Clerks Award) or Enterprise Agreements, and in the case of award/agreement free employees, an employer and an individual employee may agree to substitute a public holiday for another day. This would mean work on that day would be treated as an ordinary day, with the substituted day being treated as a public holiday for those workers. Any such agreement must be genuine, and made without pressure or coercion.
If you are unsure whether you can substitute a public holiday for any particular employee or class of employees, please contact NECA SA/NT for further advice. 

Commercial Implications
For businesses operating on tight timelines or under the threat of liquidated damages, the imposition of an additional (and unexpected) public holiday may cause commercial issues. Many contracts contain the ability to claim extra time and/or costs where are changes in laws. Members should carefully consider any contracts they have in place to see if they can claim anything under their contract and, if so, ensure that they claim in the appropriate manner, and within any applicable timeframe.
Every contract is different so please contact us for specific advice.

NECA is among a raft of industry associations that have called on the Federal Government to compensate small businesses hardest hit by the short-notice announcement of a day of mourning, following the tragic loss of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. These businesses are already grappling with labour shortages and increased sick days as the effects of the COVID pandemic linger on. 

Oliver Judd, NECA CEO, said: “We don’t seek to take away from the importance of this day and the acknowledgement of her Majesty the Queen’s significant service to our nation, however, government consultation with small businesses and those who will be hit hardest by a short notice, mid-week tools down, was absent prior to this announcement."

Further Information
If you need assistance or clarification regarding the upcoming public holiday and what it means for you, please don't hesitate to contact us on (08) 8272 2966 or email Kathlyn, NECA SA/NT Workplace Relations Advisor. ​