Forced to work on a public holiday? Know your rights!
Although the law stipulates that work on a public holiday is strictly by agreement only, this has always been a controversial issue in Zambia. Some companies have been known to threaten employees with dismissal if they stay away from work. Often, it has taken government intervention to swing the situation.
What you should know about public holidays
The holidays listed below shall be in addition to any public period, whether fixed by any law, agreement or custom, in respect of which the employee is not required to work under their contract of service.
On any day which has been declared to be a paid public holiday, every employee shall be entitled to a holiday with full pay (if he/she does not, without the permission of his/her employer or reasonable excuse, absent himself/herself from duty either on the day immediately preceding or on the day following such public holiday).
If, by virtue of an agreement or custom it is normal for an employee to work on any day declared to be a paid public holiday, such an employee shall be entitled to payment of wages at a rate determined by collective agreement or contract of service. In some institutions, workers are paid extra for working on a public holiday, up to double the normal rate.
Official Zambian public holidays:
1 January - New Years Day
8 March - International Womens day
12 March - Youth Day
2 April - Good Friday
3 April - Holy Saturday
4 April - Easter
5 April - Easter Monday
1 May - Labour Day
25 May - Africa Freedom Day
5 July - Heroes' Day
6 July - Unity Day
2 August - Farmers' Day
24 October - Independence Day
25 October - Public Holiday
25 December - Christmas Day
Make sure you know what Leave you are entitled to.