Australia announces National Day of Mourning for Queen Elizabeth

Australia will observe a National Day of Mourning on September 22 to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on Sunday. Albanese said he has written to premiers and chief ministers across Australia so they can declare the said date as a National Public Holiday.

According to the prime minister, Queen Elizabeth II was the only reigning monarch to ever visit Australia and “it was clear from her first trip that she had a special place in our hearts.”

“Over the coming weeks, Australia will continue to commemorate our late Queen,” said Albanese. “I encourage all Australians, wherever you may be, to take time to pause and reflect on Her Majesty’s extraordinary life of service.”

How will it affect workplaces
Kellie-Ann McDade, a partner at Baker McKenzie law firm, said on Lexology that employees are entitled to be absent from work on September 22 in accordance with the National Employment Standards.

“Employers may request an employee to work on the public holiday but only if the request is reasonable,” said McDade on the website. “Even then, an employee is entitled to refuse that request as long as their refusal is reasonable.”

According to McDade, some award-covered employees will be entitled to penalty rates if they are required to report to work on September 22.

“We anticipate that the short notice of this public holiday may cause some issues for employers,” said McDade. “Retailers should note that the Retail Award contains some alternatives to paying the penalty rate including agreeing with a full-time or part-time employee that they are entitled to additional accrued annual leave or time off in lieu.”

McDade suggested that if the National Day of Mourning will cause timing issues, options for substituting the public holiday for an alternative day off under the Retail Award and the Clerks Award are also available.