Pay rates: check the santa clause


Fair Work inspectors could be coming down your chimney this festive season and they are certain to find out which farmers are being naughty and which are being nice when it comes to proper employee payments.

The inspectors will audit approximately 200 businesses in Gippsland before the end of the year, checking that employers are paying the correct minimum hourly rates, penalty rates, allowances and loadings and providing appropriate meal breaks.

Compliance with record-keeping and pay-slip obligations will also be monitored.

Public holidays

With Christmas and New Year’s Day causing more confusion than ever this year – both fall on a Sunday – dairy farmers are being urged to check what their obligations are when it comes to penalty rates.

In Victoria, NSW, Queensland & ACT: Christmas Day is a public holiday and Tuesday 27 December has been declared a public holiday in addition. Boxing Day is a public holiday on the day it falls (Monday). New Year’s Day is also a public holiday despite falling on a Sunday, with Monday 2 January being declared a public holiday in addition.

SA, Tasmania and WA are each slightly different – read more about public holidays in your state

Penalty rates

Penalty rates for casual employees are calculated on the ordinary rate, not the loaded casual rate. This means that the calculation for casual employees working public holidays is as follows: (2 x ordinary time rate) + (25% x ordinary time rate)

The Pastoral Award 2010 allows for employers and individual employees or employers and the majority of employees to agree to substitute an alternative day for the public holiday. Only one penalty applies at the one time. If a public holiday falls when an employee is on overtime – you pay the public holiday rate (200%) on the base rate, not the overtime rate.

Public holidays are provided for in the National Employment Standards (NES) but in addition to that, the Pastoral Award 2010 provides for farm and livestock hands to receive double time if they work on a public holiday.

Annual leave

If a public holiday falls when an employee is on annual leave, the employee is taken not to be on paid annual leave on that day. Instead, the NES about public holidays will apply and the employee will be entitled to be paid for the public holiday at the employee’s base rate of pay for ordinary hours of work.

What you can do

Read more about public holidays during the festive season, entitlements and working during this period.

If you’re in Gippsland, contact GippsDairy Workforce Co-ordinator Leah Maslen on 5624 3900.
Contact your local Regional Development Program here

Make sure you have the latest information – read about the ESKi (including updates) and order an ESKi folder for your farm.