A short guide to Alternative Holidays

A short guide to Alternative Holidays
If an employee has had to work on a public holiday, they are provided with an Alternative Holiday, a day off to take at a later date.


Some people call Alternative Holidays ‘lieu days’ or ‘days off in lieu’ but those terms can also refer to other types of leave, so it is recommended Alternative Holidays are called by their correct name.

An employee gets an Alternative Holiday for working on a public holiday, that is an Otherwise Working day.

An Otherwise Working day is a day that an employee would have been working, had the day not been a public holiday, sick leave, bereavement leave, annual holiday, or Alternative Holiday for that employee.

In plain English, if your worker works every Monday, and the following Monday is Easter Monday, they are entitled to take an alternative day off at a later date if they work that day, because Easter Monday is a public holiday.

However, if your employees work on a public holiday, but don’t usually work on that day, they will be paid time and a half.


What if they are on call? Does that count?

Yes, if an employee is on-call, on a day they normally work, and it is a public holiday, AND their activities are limited, they are entitled to be paid a full days pay as an Alternative Holiday. This is because they haven’t enjoyed the full day off, that they were entitled to.


FOR EXAMPLE, Jason usually works on a Monday. He has to be on call, answering the phone on Easter Monday.  All his mates go fishing, but Jason can’t go because of bad reception on the boat. Jason has to stay at home. NO ONE calls! However, he is entitled to time and a half pay for the day he worked, plus a full day’s Alternative Holiday.


When can an employee take an Alternative Holiday day

Your employee can take an alternative holiday on a day that:

  1. Isn’t a public holiday.
  2. Is agreed with their employer.
  3. Would otherwise be a working day for them.


What if you can’t agree on the day with your employee? 

The employer can choose the employee’s alternative holiday but

  1. They must be reasonable
  2. You have to give your employee 14 days’ notice of the day you’ve got to take.


Can the employee be paid out for their Alternative Holiday?
  1. Yes! If you both agree.
  2. If your employee hasn’t taken the alternative holiday, and
  3. If 12 months has passed since the employee became entitled to the alternative holiday.

Once the agreement is made, the payment must be paid as soon as practicable.


Alternative Holidays DO NOT EXPIRE. 

If the employee still needs to take their alternative holiday or be paid out, it will get added to their final pay when they leave.


If you need help remember We Love Tradies HR has an advice line we call the Tradie hotline where we help you sort out these issues. Call 022 562 0069






We Love Tradies HR Ltd blogs contain only general information about legal matters. It is not intended to be legal advice and should not be treated as, or relied on, as such. Don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer appropriate to your legal issue for legal advice specific to your facts.

Cat Randle
Cat Randle

at Randle is an award-winning writer. She writes blogs for various audiences, including authors, charities, and professional companies. She helps hundreds of Tradies to relax and enjoy their weekends with We Love Tradies HR, internationally renowned HR solutions. She wants to save our planet because it's the only one with chocolate.

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