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Melbourne Cup Day – Do I Pay Public Holiday Rates?

Posted October 17, 2016

It’s ‘the race that stops the nation’. Melbourne Cup Day is Australia’s best known horse racing event held on the first Tuesday of November every year. It is an annual public holiday ONLY in the state of Victoria and public holiday rates apply.

Once called Picnic Day and observed as a public holiday in other States, today it is only gazetted in Victoria.

Everyone in Victoria is entitled to the Melbourne Cup public holiday, Tuesday 1st November 2016, however in some non-metro areas of Victoria the Melbourne Cup Holiday is replaced with a different public holiday such as a local cup day or local show holiday.

In 2016 the following areas substitute the Melbourne Cup holiday for a local cup day:

  • Moyne Shire – Warrnambool Cup Day.
  • Warrnambool City – Warrnambool Cup Day.
  • Gannawarra Shire – Kerang Show Day.
  • City of Greater Geelong – Geelong Cup Day.
  • Macedon Ranges – Kyneton Cup Day
  • Colac Otway Shire – Colac Show Day.
  • Hepburn Shire – Ballarat Show Day.
  • Wodonga – Wodonga Gold Cup Day.

For Victorian salons, there a couple of different scenarios that will affect your business and what to pay your employees on Melbourne Cup Day.

Permanent employee who usually works on a day that is declared a Public Holiday

  • If your employee usually works on a day that is declared a public holiday i.e. Melbourne Cup Day and your salon is closed, they are paid the base rate of pay for that day.
  • If you salon is open and the staff member elects not to work on this day, they will be paid at the base rate of pay.
  • If your salon is open and the employee works that day, they will be paid the public holiday penalty rate and this applies to all staff including casuals.

Permanent employees who do not usually work on a day that is declared a Public Holiday

  • If your employee does not usually work on a day that is declared a public holiday, then the employee does not receive payment for the day and also do not receive a day in lieu. (This is because there are no ordinary hours of work for this day and therefore it does not make up their ordinary hours per week).

For further clarification on public holidays contact HABA on 02 9221 9911  or visit

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