Businesses face public holiday mayhem with Labour Day change

COAST businesses could be staring down the barrel of a return to early-year public holiday mayhem after the new State Government committed to returning the Labour Day holiday to May.

Whether that is this year or next, new Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has promised to reverse the change made in 2013, a move which could spell more headaches for small businesses and their staff.

While business owners contacted yesterday were relieved there was no introduction of a new public holiday, they agreed having a string of holidays in quick succession caused problems.

The owner of One Up Bar and Bistro at Mooloolaba, Brendan Lowry, said the time of year was irrelevant - it was the spacing of the public holiday calendar that was important.

"To me it doesn't have a bearing as to whether it's mid-year, early-year or late-year," he said.

"It does hurt when there's a string of public holidays in a row.

"It does force us to operate on shoestring staff, or try to make up time owed to full-time staff."

Mr Lowry said public holidays were traditionally a time when small business owners shouldered much more workload in a bid to cut down on casual staff numbers to reduce the cost of penalty rates.

"It adds to the workload of the owners," he said.

"You just can't afford to get them (casual or junior staff) through the business."

While the decision to shift Labour Day to October, made by former Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, was seen as an attack on Labor's foundations, calls to shift the Queen's Birthday holiday to later in the year would do little to ease the early-year scheduling problems.

A State Government spokesman confirmed yesterday that the Labour Day holiday would return to May, but exactly when was yet to be determined.

"The government is committed to returning Labour Day to its proper place in the calendar," the spokesman said.

"Whether it is this year or next year will depend on discussions with Cabinet and key stakeholders."

Queensland Hotels Association employment relations manager Joanna Minchinton said the most pressing issue was to work out a definite solution moving forward.

"We'd just like to know if it is going to move (back to May)," she said.

"As a short-term issue, the move of the Labour Day holiday is not a big issue for us... but if people are making staffing arrangements (for penalty rate payments), they need to know what the appropriate staffing arrangements will be."

An Ocean St business owner also said public holidays were much more effective when spaced apart rather than close together.

The 2016 public holiday calendar

  •  Friday, January 1: New Year's Eve
  •  Tuesday, January 26: Australia Day
  •  Friday, March 25: Good Friday
  •  Saturday, March 26: Easter Saturday
  •  Monday, March 28: Easter Monday
  •  Monday, April 25: Anzac Day
  •  May: Labour Day*
  •  October: Queen's Birthday*
  •  December 25-27: Christmas, Boxing Day period

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