Merry Christmas from Unite (and making sure you get paid properly)

Merry Christmas from Unite (and making sure you get paid properly)

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Unite Union. 

Help when you need it during the holidays


We are very aware that many members will be working through the holidays. We want to make sure both that you can get help from your union if you need it and that you get paid properly – especially for the four public holidays over the next two weeks.

Most Unite staff are on leave and our offices closed until Monday the 8th January. However, Unite has duty organisers on call every day until then.

If you need our help simply call 0800 2 UNITE (0800 286 483). If no-one answers immediately leave a message with your name, workplace and phone number - this is very important (and speak clearly and slowly when you do this). Someone will call you back within a few hours during the day, or the next morning if you call at night.

You can also email Again – include your name, workplace and a contact phone number, along with a brief description of your issue.

Getting paid properly for the public holidays

This year all the public holidays over Christmas and New Year fall on weekdays, which makes it a bit easier to figure out what entitlements are.

Simply – if you work at all on either Monday 25th , Tuesday 26th December, Monday 1st January or Tuesday 2nd January you must be paid at least time and a half, which means 50% more than your normal hourly rate (eg if you normally get $16 per hour you should be paid at least $24 per hour on these days).

This applies for any time worked on these days, including if you are rostered on the 24th or the 31st and end up working past midnight into the public holiday. Any time worked past midnight must be paid at time and a half.

If you are not working these days this year but normally do work on these days of the week (i.e. Mondays or Tuesdays) then you should get paid your normal pay for that day – you don’t have to use up any leave.

If you are working on any of these days this year and you normally work these days then you should also get an “alternative holiday” (commonly referred to as “lieu days”) to take in future.

If you have a fixed roster or very regular rosters then it should be clear to your employer if you should get another day off. If it isn’t so clear then a recent ruling has provided good guidance about what is “otherwise a working day”. Basically if you worked a majority of Monday’s and or Tuesdays for the past one to three months you probably should get a lieu day – whether you actually work the public holidays or not. 

If you think you didn’t get paid properly for the public holidays, let us know and send us a copy of the relevant payslip.

Remember as well – you do not have to work more than your guaranteed hours or outside your agreed availability or fixed shift times.

Have a great holiday season (whether you are working or not). We are looking forward to a great 2018 - there is much to look forward to.