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Pony up your public holiday rates!

For some of us, the cup day long weekend is an opportunity to put on questionable headwear, drink litres of bubbly and come home with our heals slung over our shoulder. Or perhaps it’s just another long weekend; perfect for sleeping in, lounging around and watching Netflix. 

But here’s the thing; not all public holidays are born equal. While it would be lovely for everyone to have the day off, the world would stop. Who would run the hospitals, sell us petrol, or make our soy flat white and smashed avo bagel brunch?


Working when you know all of your mates are out (or in) having fun isn’t particularly fun. Who knows what you’re missing out on? A birthday, a party, or maybe a family event? This is why we have penalty rates.


“What’s a penalty rate?” I hear you ask. It’s a bit of extra pay added to your hourly rate when you’re working ‘unsocial hours’. So, this doesn’t just apply to Melbourne’s beloved horse-fest. It’s weekends, public holidays, overtime, really late night and really early morning shifts. It’s an acknowledgement of all of the things that you miss because you’re at work.


Your penalty rates are a fundamental entitlement and your workplace are required to pay them by law. The precise amount differs slightly depending on your industry award, but the principle remains the same.

Feeling a little horse fighting for your penalty rates? Don’t let your boss win the race, tell them to pony up your pay!

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. If you’re having problems with your boss, or you just have some questions, give the Young Workers Centre a call on 1800 714 754.