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JobKeeper and Public Holidays

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Over the next couple of months, we have a number of public holidays. We have been receiving some questions about how you treat these in JobKeeper, so we have summarised some useful information for you below:


Public holidays (extract from Fair Work Ombudsman)

Public holiday pay needs to be included when calculating an employee’s usual pay if the employee:

  • Would normally have worked on the public holiday if the JobKeeper enabling stand down direction hadn’t been given.

  • Would have been entitled to time off without loss of pay.

Public holidays during a stand down

Employees who are stood down without pay by their employer under the Fair Work Act are still entitled to be paid for public holidays that fall during the stand down period. This applies if the employee would normally have ordinary hours of work falling on the day of the public holiday.

Example from Fair Work Ombudsman


Example: Public holiday during stand down

Shashi is a full-time employee who normally works Monday to Friday at Sheepish Shoes in Victoria. The business is a qualifying employer receiving JobKeeper payments from the ATO for Shashi.

Sheepish Shoes gives Shashi a JobKeeper enabling stand down direction to work no hours from 1 June 2020 to 15 June 2020.


Monday, 8 June 2020 is a public holiday in Victoria (Queen’s Birthday). If Shashi worked as normal, he’d be entitled to 7.5 hours off work (his normal hours on Mondays) without loss of pay.

As Shashi is entitled to be away from work on the public holiday, the JobKeeper enabling stand down direction doesn’t apply to him on this day. This means Sheepish Shoes has to pay Shashi at his base pay rate for 7.5 hours (his normal Monday hours).


When calculating how much it needs to pay Shashi for the fortnight, Sheepish Shoes needs to include the amount Shashi is entitled to be paid for the public holiday. They must pay Shashi either the JobKeeper payment amount or the amount they would normally pay Shashi for the public holiday, whichever is higher.

Sheepish Shoes needs to pay Shashi an amount equal to the JobKeeper payment for this fortnight, because it’s higher than the amount Shashi would be paid for the public holiday.


Bookkeeping for Public Holidays and JobKeeper

The employee is entitled to the normal amount they would have been paid for the Public Holiday, even if they are subject to a standdown provision.

Then consider the JobKeeper fortnight total amount being paid. The employer must pay the greater of:

  • the JobKeeper amount ($1,200 or $750 depending on the Tier for the employee) and

  • The amount to be paid for work performed which includes payment for public holidays

FWO – Pay & the JobKeeper scheme


If you need any assistance with payroll, please get in touch. We offer a variety of packages which could help you spend more time on your business and less on bookkeeping!


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Understanding jobkeeper and public holidays bookkeeping tips

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