skip to navigation skip to content skip to footer

Part 12: Public holidays – Australia

5.12.1 Public holidays

  1. A member performing duty in Australia must observe certain days as public holidays, unless required for duty.

  2. A member is eligible for the same public holidays as an APS employee of the Department of Defence, at the location where the member performs duty.

    Note: APS employees of the Department of Defence are eligible for other specified leave days and a Christmas stand-down, as well as public holidays. This subsection only refers to those days listed as public holidays.

    See: Section 5.12.3, Christmas stand-down, for details of short absence when not required for duty granted to members over the Christmas period.

  3. A member might be performing duty away from their posting location. They observe a public holiday at the location where they are actually performing duty.

    Example: A member posted to Wagga Wagga travels to Melbourne on temporary duty from 1 to 7 November. The member observes Melbourne Cup Day while in Melbourne.

  4. A member on recreation leave will not have their leave credit debited for public holidays that occur during the leave period. The public holidays observed will be those at the location where the member normally performs duty.

  5. A member on a flexible service determination may only observe those public holidays that fall within the working days in their pattern of service.

  6. Note: The state and territory websites that show which public holidays are observed at the location where the member is performing duty can be found on the public holidays page.

5.12.2 Substitution of public holidays

  1. A member may apply to the CDF to substitute a different day for a public holiday that they would otherwise observe.

  2. In deciding whether to grant the member's application, the CDF must consider both of these criteria.

    1. Any Service requirement that the member remain on duty that day.

    2. If the substitute day is of cultural or religious significance to the member.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection on behalf of the CDF:
Supervisor not below WO2(E)/APS 4 of the member in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.

5.12.3 Christmas stand-down

  1. Members are not required to attend for duty during the following periods.

    1. 22 December 2018 – 1 January 2019 inclusive.

    2. 24 December 2019 – 1 January 2020 inclusive.

  2. The periods in subsection 1 include public holidays that fall within the period.

  3. A Commanding Officer may determine that the member must perform duty on a day listed in subsection 1. The Commanding Officer should consider if there are pressing operational, preparatory or safety needs that prevent the member from being absent.

  4. Absences are treated in accordance with the following table.

    Absence treatment
    Item If the day... the day is to be...
    1. is a public holiday granted under section 5.12.1.
    See: Section 5.12.1, Public holidays
    2. is not a public holiday treated as short absence when not required for duty.

    Related Information: Chapter 15 Part 1 section 15.1.5, Christmas stand-down, for arrangements that apply to members overseas

Application to Reservists: Yes.

I want to know more...

Further info


Defence Service Centre

1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362)