Changes to Public Holiday rostering requirements – what you need to know as a manager and employee

Following a decision by the Federal Court earlier this year, managers must now request employees to work on a public holiday. This change is effective for Monash Health employees immediately. 

What does this mean for managers? 

When rostering over a period that includes a public holiday, rosters should be released as per normal rostering requirements in the relevant Enterprise Agreement. 

Here’s what has changed: 

  • If you are a manager, you must advise employees that if they are marked on the roster (including the on-call roster) to work on a public holiday, this represents a request to work that day, and that the employee may refuse the request.  
  • You should advise employees to put any refusal to work in writing and to set out their reasons for refusal as soon as practicable. You must then consider and respond to any refusals you receive. 
  • If the refusal to work on a public holiday is not reasonable and the employee is required to work, you must notify the employee in writing. Please ask your People and Culture Business Partner for the Unreasonable Refusal to Work Public Holiday letter template for this purpose. 

Please refer to this comprehensive checklist to guide you through the process. The checklist will help you comply with the requirements, including set timelines. 

If you need advice, you can contact your People and Culture Business Partner. Alternatively, you can contact the People and Culture Advice Line on 9265 2724 or 

What does this mean for employees? 

If you have been rostered to work on a public holiday, you may refuse the request to work on that day, in writing, noting that your refusal should be reasonable.  

Given the nature of public health (24/7 service), the notice given to employees to work on a public holiday and the penalty payments received, a request to work a public holiday will constitute a reasonable request in nearly all circumstances, with limited scope for any refusal to work on the part of employees.   

You should provide your written refusal within one week of the roster being released including sufficient information to allow your manager to assess whether your refusal to work on the public holiday is reasonable. Your manager will consider and respond to your request. 

If you are happy to work on the rostered public holiday, you do not need to do anything. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Managers and employees can refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for more information, including examples of what may be considered reasonable requests to work on a public holiday or unreasonable refusals to work. 

If you have any questions, please contact 


Approved by Chris McLoughlin, Executive Director, People & Culture 

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