When the clock strikes 6pm on Christmas Eve, an official public holiday will begin in Queensland.
The change comes as a result of contentious legislation passed in state parliament.
Business groups opposed the proposal, arguing a new public holiday will increase costs and force small businesses to close on the night.
Christmas Eve important for families
Queensland’s Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said Christmas Eve is important for families.
“It’s a very special time for family and friends as well as communities and churches to come together.
“Many Queenslanders do have to work Christmas Eve, and the change will ensure proper compensation for them.”
Queensland third state to introduce the public holiday
Queensland is the third state or territory to bring in a part-day public holiday on 24 December.
The others are South Australia and the Northern Territory.
The Courier-Mail reports that popular surf clubs and RSLs are considering shutting their doors when the holiday kicked in.
Furthermore, analysis shows almost 100 small businesses are thinking about doing the same.
But there are concerns businesses will not have enough time to prepare ahead of the public holiday.
Ms Grace said:
“Making it a public holiday gives those who have to work, like essential services personnel, retail staff and shop employees, better pay for having to give up that family time.”
A sensible move
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from IR Claims described the move as “sensible”.
“I think the Minister is spot on when she says that Christmas Eve is a special time for families,” he said.
“If a worker is going to miss out on this time with their family or friends or church, then they should be compensated for it.
“Business groups will always argue that public holidays and penalty rates costs jobs, but they can never provide any evidence to back up those claims.”
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