The Palaszczuk Government plans to make Christmas Eve a public holiday after 6pm to ensure all Queenslanders who are required to work that night are properly compensated.
Premier Palaszczuk said the move would ensure Queensland workers get a fair go and fair pay on that most important of nights and during this year’s festive season.
“It would ensure workers have the right to have Christmas Eve off as a public holiday just as they do for Christmas Day.
“The night before Christmas is as important to families as the day itself.
“It’s a very special time for family and friends as well as communities and churches to come together.
“Many Queenslanders though, do have to work Christmas Eve and the change would ensure proper compensation for them,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Making it a public holiday would give those who have to work like essential services staff, hospitality workers and shop employee’s better pay for doing so.
“A worker in the hospitality industry would be better off by around $146 dollars for the night, according to the Hospitality Industry General Award.
“While some have no choice, others should have the right to say no to Christmas eve shifts with the full protection of the law.
“While the government can’t restore the weekend penalty rate cuts inflicted upon some 160,000 Queenslanders by the then Turnbull/Morrison Government we can at least do the right thing for people working on Christmas Eve.”
The Premier said the proposed law change was no reflection on Queensland employers who already acknowledge the Christmas spirit.
“I’d be surprised if we had Scrooges treating the festive evening as part of the normal work day work when employees should be able to celebrate Christmas,” the Premier said.
“But it’s undeniable that society is changing and a protection like this could be needed in the future.”
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace wants employers, employees and the wider community to have their say during the next 28 days of public consultation on the proposed change.
“Of course, it’s widely accepted now that anyone who has to work on a public holiday should be fairly compensated.
“For so many people the Christmas season begins on Christmas Eve and a part-day public holiday from 6pm and covering the six hours to 12 midnight on this date would recognise the historic importance of this special time,” Ms Grace said.
“Queensland would be the third Australian jurisdiction to implement this measure, with South Australia and the Northern Territory making similar changes in 2012 and 2016 respectively.
“A 2013 review of the arrangements in South Australia found there was strong opinion that Christmas Eve held a special status in the community in-line with it being recognised as a public holiday.
“And that there was considerable community support for the improved protections and wages for workers that come with a public holiday.
“I would be surprised if the same view didn’t apply here,” Ms Grace said.
“Several industries and services may be affected by a part-day Christmas Eve public holiday, and we encourage everyone to have their say on this proposed change.”
Subject to public consultation, the Palaszczuk Government hopes to make the necessary legislative change for the special holiday to take effect from Christmas Eve this year.
Further information is available at https://www.oir.qld.gov.au/industrial-relations/proposed-christmas-eve-part-day-public-holiday
Interested parties can have their say by making written submissions to:
Post: Christmas Eve Part-Day Public Holiday Consultation
Office of Industrial Relations
GPO Box 69
Brisbane QLD 4001
Written submissions must be received by 4pm Monday, 2 September 2019.
Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations
The Honourable Grace Grace