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Most people want to work on Australia Day: Why not offer some flexibility?

By Jack Campbell | |4 minute read

New research has revealed that the majority of workers would prefer to work on Australia Day. Workplaces can help promote flexibility by listening to employees and working something out.

The study by Indeed revealed that three-quarters of Aussies would prefer the option to work on 26 January and not observe the public holiday.

“Most Australian workers want the ability to choose whether or not they work on public holidays. When a business is able to offer flexible leave, it can provide a number of benefits. It enables workers to observe days of personal or religious significance to them,” said Indeed’s workplace expert, Lauren Anderson.


“Three out of five workers say they would be more likely to work for an employer who offers a flexible leave policy; therefore, in a tight labour market, flexible leave can be an attractive benefit.”

Currently, 52 per cent of workers have the option to work on Australia Day if they desire. Meanwhile, there are 3.7 million people (58 per cent) who will take the public holiday.

There were a variety of reasons for people wanting to work on 26 January. The most popular of which were:

  • To earn more money (89 per cent).
  • To have the flexibility to elect a different day off (78 per cent).
  • They do not believe 26 January should be a day of celebration (66 per cent).

The push for greater flexibility in working public holidays has been debated for some time. In fact, 68 per cent of workers believe they should have the option to swap public holidays.

Other public holidays that employees would like the option to swap include:

  • King’s Birthday (34 per cent)
  • Labour Day (31 per cent)
  • Christmas Day (30 per cent)
  • Easter Monday (30 per cent)
  • ANZAC Day (28per cent)
  • Good Friday (28 per cent)
  • New Year’s Day (27 per cent)
  • Melbourne Cup Day (40 per cent)
  • AFL Grand Final Friday (35 per cent)

Employees wanting to work on Australia Day shouldn’t be too surprising, especially considering the debate over the date that has ramped up in recent years.

With the divide over the celebration’s significance and many getting heated over their views, offering flexibility can be a benefit not only to the individual but also to workplaces.

Giving staff the option to choose which day they take can help to promote flexibility, which time and time again is seen as a top consideration for employees.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.