A recent Federal Court decision has had significant influence in highlighting the obligations for employers when rostering staff on a public holiday. The case clarifies that employees can only be required to work on a public holiday where they have first been requested to work on the day. Where the employee agrees to work on a public holiday, then there would be no further issues. However, should an employee refuse the initial request, an employer can only "override" this and place a requirement to work the public holiday, where this is reasonable and the employee's refusal was also unreasonable.
Essentially, there is no ability for an employer to simply have a blanket requirement for employees to work public holidays. The case highlights it is necessary for a compulsory step to first be taken in all instances where an employee is first requested to work on a public holiday, and employees are given an opportunity to accept or decline the request. The purpose of this is to encourage employers to actively communicate with employees about work on a public holiday, rather than have a unilateral ability outright to roster staff on for a public holiday without consultation.