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Modernising NSW public holidays

Impact of the Public Holidays Act
Prior to 2010, many workers in NSW faced uncertainty over public holiday rights.

The entitlement of employees to be absent from work without loss of pay, or to receive penalty rates for working on a bank or public holiday, had derived from industrial awards and agreements rather than being mandated by state law.

Professor Joellen Riley was appointed on behalf of the NSW Government to review the outdated NSW Bank Holiday Act – last updated in 1912 – and existing federal Work Choices legislation.

The review recommended necessary changes to modernise the legislation and other instruments affecting the creation and operation of public holidays in NSW, ultimately resulting in the resulting in the Public Holidays Act of 2010.

The Act recognised Easter Sunday as a public hoiiday. For the first time, employees working on that day were now able to access public holiday entitlements and penalty rates.