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Taking Time Off Work For Cultural and Religious Holidays

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Taking Time Off Work For Cultural and Religious Holidays Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Australia is a vibrant and multicultural nation boasting significant cultural and religious diversity, with workplaces across the country reflecting this diversity.

Recognising and embracing diversity in the workplace helps staff feel valued for their unique qualities, ideas and perspectives and extends to recognising that staff may wish to celebrate culturally important or religious days and events throughout the year. Some examples of cultural or religious holidays include Lunar New Year, Diwali, Ramadan and NAIDOC Week.

What Employers and Employees Need To Know

Lots of religious and cultural holidays observed in Australia aren't recognised public holidays. This means that as an employee may wish to take time off work to celebrate these holidays.

Your employer can support the needs of you by participating in cultural or religious holidays by:

  • agreeing with employees to use leave entitlements to take time off work
  • acknowledging or celebrating these holidays in the workplace to promote awareness and inclusion
  • agreeing to flexible working arrangements, such as a change to hours, patterns or locations of work to accommodate the holiday

Embracing celebrations of cultural or religious holidays benefit the whole workplace and can lead to increased:

  • job satisfaction
  • workplace morale and culture
  • productivity

Just remember, it’s illegal for your employer to discriminate against you because of your religion or national extraction. To avoid legal issues, it’s a good idea for you to agree with your employer on taking time off to celebrate cultural or religious holidays in advance.

For a list of yearly cultural celebrations, please read the following: Yearly Calendar Of Cultural Celebrations

Reference: 
Cultural and Religious Holidays, Fair Work Ombudsman

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