Public holidays are covered by the NES (at sections 114 to 116 of the FW Act) and under clauses 32 and sub-clause 28.2 of the RTD Award).
Generally stated, full-time and part-time employees are entitled to have paid time off from work (at the base rate of pay) on public holidays. If a business is closed on a public holiday, or if full-time or part-time employees elect not to work, an employer must pay them at their base rate for the ordinary hours they would have otherwise worked. The base rate of pay does not include incentive-based payments and bonuses, loadings, monetary allowances, overtime or penalty rates.
Exceptions to the general rule - Employees who would not normally work on the day which coincides with the public holiday, and who are absent on the public holiday, are not entitled to paid time off. For example, casual employees who are not rostered on for the public holiday, and those part-time employees whose part-time hours do not include the day or the week on which the public holiday falls, would not be entitled to payment.
Specific public holidays as set out in the NES (at section 115) are:
Sub-clause 32.2 provides that by agreement between the employer and the majority of affected employees in the relevant enterprise or section of the enterprise, an alternative day may be taken as the public holiday instead of any of days prescribed in the NES. Such agreement must be recorded in writing and be available to every affected employee.
Note that the deterrence against employees taking unauthorized absence from work either side of a public holiday is to be found at sub-clause 28.2(b) under “Penalty Rates”.