You want me to work on a public holiday! That’s unreasonable – or is it?


In the first decision of its kind, Fair Work Australia has considered whether an employee’s refusal to work on a public holiday was reasonable in an application for an unfair dismissal remedy. The case arose when an employee was summarily dismissed after failing to attend work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day as his employer had requested.

What does the Fair Work Act say?

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), an employer can only request that an employee work on a public holiday if that request is reasonable. However, if an employer has made a reasonable request for an employee to work on a public holiday, the employee can only refuse the request if their refusal is also reasonable.

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