PUBLIC HOLIDAY CHANGES: The State Government has proposed a new public holiday for Christmas Eve.
PUBLIC HOLIDAY CHANGES: The State Government has proposed a new public holiday for Christmas Eve. MaxPixel

Everything you need to know about proposed public holiday

QUEENSLAND hospitality workers could be $146 a year better off after the idea of an extra public holiday was floated.

The proposed law change would mean, for six hours on Christmas Eve, workers could be paid public holiday rates from 6pm until midnight.

If the move is successful, Queensland will be the third state to implement the measure, with South Australia and the Northern Territory making similar changes in 2012 and 2016 respectively.

While the proposed changes would be a win for some workers, Proserpine Chamber of Commerce president Bob Bogie said small businesses would be the ones to lose out and some may not be able to afford to open.

"Anything that puts a cost on small businesses, with limited exceptions should not be supported," he said.

"At the end of the day, workers depend on a business being viable, so if a business isn't open, they're out of a job." he said.

Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce president Allan Milostic said it would cost small businesses.

"I can understand the thought process behind the changes but will their compensation be for small businesses?" he said.

Mr Milostic said in most instances, being open on a public holiday wasn't a "money making venture" and likened it to a "public service".

Kerrigan, who wanted to keep her workplace and last name anonymous, works in the hospitality sector and said it was a win for only a "small amount of people".

She said it would probably fall back on employees, who were on a permanent or part-time contract, to work the public holiday instead of a casual employee, which would negatively impact her.

"It will help out those who aren't on a set wage or a contract," she said.

She said industries like hospitality and tourism were known for the unsociable hours and that missing out on weekends and holidays was a given. "That's part of working in the industry - that's how hospitality is, take it or leave it," she said.

Mr Milostic said the changes could also end up costing the workers, as smaller businesses may choose not to open, resulting in lost income.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the changes would ensure Queensland workers got a fair go and fair pay on that most important of nights and during this year's festive season.

"It would ensure workers have the right to have Christmas Eve off as a public holiday just as they do for Christmas Day," she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said the night before Christmas was as important to some families as the day itself.

"While some have no choice, others should have the right to say no to Christmas Eve shifts with the full protection of the law," she said. Ms Palaszczuk said the changes would also appease the 160,000 Queenslanders impacted by the weekend penalty rate cut, imposed by the Federal Government.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace wants employers, employees and the wider community to have their say during the next 28 days of public consultation on the proposed change.

Interested parties can have their say on the proposal by making written submissions to publichol@oir.qld.gov.au.


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