'No reasonable case': Ai Group rejects calls for 6-week annual leave

Change would cause 'obvious difficulties for employers,' says head of group

'No reasonable case': Ai Group rejects calls for 6-week annual leave

Australia's national employers' organisation has shot down calls to increase annual leave entitlements in the country to six weeks, according to reports.


Yahoo Finance reported on Tuesday a statement from Brent Ferguson, Ai Group's head of national workplace relations policy, who criticised the proposal.

"Not only is there no sensible justification for increasing leave entitlements, implementing such a change would cause obvious difficulties for employers and the broader community," Ferguson told Yahoo Finance.

These difficulties would not only include the cost of paying for extra leave, according to the official, but also the potential impact on productivity stemming from further staff absences.

"There is no reasonable case for reconsidering the amount of annual leave prescribed by the safety net of leave entitlements applicable in Australia," Ferguson said.

The Ai Group official also argued that some industries are already providing additional leave for employees who are working on Sundays and public holidays.

Learn more about public holidays in Australia here.

Some employers also pay a premium to employees working overtime or during "unsociable" hours, he added, as reported by Yahoo Finance.

Six-week annual leave proposal

Ferguson's statement is a response to a proposal from Jonathon Woolfrey, an HR and workplace expert, who called for a six-week annual leave for employees.

"It's time to rip this band aid off and go to six weeks... other countries have moved ahead of Australia," Woolfrey said on 2GB.

According to the workplace expert, it's time acknowledge that it's "very difficult" to manage time between work, play, and family.

"You need a different way of how to manage and with that in the modern workplace," Woolfrey said. "So, it's time for six weeks. I think we need to move towards that."

In Australia, full-time and part-time workers receive a total of four weeks of annual leave for every 12 months worked, according to the business.gov.au.

Recent findings, however, suggested that not all employees are leveraging this because of workload, financial pressures, and COVID-related travel concerns. 

Research from ELMO Software in 2022 found that 23% of employees in Australia have accumulated more than 20 days of annual leave, while 13% have two months' worth of it.

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