Publications / Employment
Early last week the Minister for Financial Services, Mr Greg Pearce, made an order declaring Newcastle Show Day (Friday 16 March 2012) a 'local event day' for the Newcastle local government area. Jeremy Kennedy, Partner and Gillian Holmes, Lawyer from McCullough Robertson discuss how the changes may affect your business and staff planning for 2012.
The declaration (made pursuant to the Public Holidays Act 2010 (NSW)) was at the request of the Newcastle City Council and in response to many months of campaigning by local council members and businesses.
A local event day does not have the status of a public holiday under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and therefore is not recognised under the National Employment Standards as a day which attracts public holiday penalties and conditions for employees and employers.
Rather, the day will only bear significance for those persons whose terms and conditions of employment (i.e. enterprise agreement, contract or award) specify that local event days will be observed. This is considered to be a minority.
For those covered by most modern awards, or instruments which are silent as to local event days, Friday 16 March 2012 will be business as usual. Similarly, public schools around the region will remain open.
So a week out from the day, local businesses have some kind of certainty about the rates of pay and conditions under which employees will work on Friday 16 March. However the certainty will be short-lived.
Given the declaration only specifies the arrangements for 2012, there is potential for us to see the same debate arising annually, with results perhaps varying depending on the political landscape at local and state level.
This Alert covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. This Alert is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.