Melbourne Cup not a reason to skip work

by 31 Oct 2011

It’s a public holiday in Victoria, but the fun ends soon after the three minute race for the rest of Australia. Many businesses are imposing strict time limits regarding work stoppage for this year’s Melbourne cup day.

In light of notorious all-afternoon, raucous staff lunches in previous years, Australian HR leaders have been forced to take a strict approach on this year’s festivities.

Optus staff, for example, will be allowed to watch the race but must promptly return to work, and staff were told they would need to apply for an annual leave day if they planned to extend celebrations beyond the duration of the race.

Harvey Norman’s head office is also taking a subdued approach to this year’s cup day, and has abandoned its once annual best-dressed competition. While staff sweeps have been permitted, they have been instructed to resume work as soon as the race ends.

A Commonwealth Bank spokesperson said no formal Melbourne Cup celebrations will take place, although tellers will be permitted a few minutes away from their desks to watch the race.

“We anticipate that most staff will want to watch the race in their branch or work area and will return to looking after our customers following this,” the spokesperson added.

ANZ spokeswoman Ingrid Nugent said the bank was taking a “business as usual” approach to Melbourne Cup day.

“If teams want to organise something to celebrate, then we leave this to the discretion of line managers,” she said.

However, AMP is one company embracing the day, with a function being held at its Sydney headquarters for all staff.

Company spokeswoman Amanda Wallace said the event was being held to give staff an opportunity to celebrate the much loved race, and the event would raise money for the charity Dress for Success, which provides interview suits and career-development opportunities to disadvantaged women.


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