By TCCI Senior Workplace Relations Consultant Abbey George

Launceston Cup Day always causes much confusion each year as to whether it is regarded as a public holiday or not.

As Modern Awards do not determine public holidays, an entitlement to a public holiday is determined by the National Employment Standards and by the industrial instrument in place at an organisation such as an Enterprise Agreement.

For those employers covered by a Modern Award, to determine which days are local holidays, such as Launceston Cup Day, the National Employment Standards refer to those days which are “declared or prescribed by or under a law of a State or Territory to be observed generally within the State or Territory, or a region of the State or Territory” (Section 115(b) Fair Work Act 2009).

Although for the vast majority of private sector employees, Launceston Cup Day has not been a legislated entitlement in the past, much confusion existed as Launceston Cup Day was previously listed as a statutory holiday; however, with amendments to the Statutory Holidays Act 2000 in Tasmania in December 2010, Launceston Cup Day was removed and listed as a government holiday only.

Therefore, for the majority of employees in the private sector, there is no entitlement to Launceston Cup Day, except for those employees that are covered by an Enterprise Agreement that provides for that specific entitlement.

Having said this, some businesses choose to allow employees to have all or part of Launceston Cup Day off in any event and obviously this is a matter for each individual business.

If you have any questions about public holidays or workplace relations generally please do not hesitate to contact the TCCI on 1300 559 122 or