Should you allow employees to work on holidays in exchange for extra leave?

This 'personalised' perk could be the solution to engagement challenges

Should you allow employees to work on holidays in exchange for extra leave?

Early this year, employers across Australia were divided on whether to allow their staff to work on Australia Day amid ongoing controversies surrounding the public holiday.

There were employers, such as Telstra, University of Wollongong, Ten Network, BHP, KPMG Australia, among others, that offered flexible policies to allow staff to work on the holiday and choose another day when they can take a day off.

While this scheme previously stirred controversy, it turns out that more than half of employees in Australia wouldn’t mind similar workplace arrangements in the future.

Working on public holidays

In a survey among over 2,400 employees, Perkbox Australia found that 58% would consider working on public holidays in exchange for an extra day of annual leave.

In fact, only 38.6% of the respondents preferred taking a holiday on Australia Day. According to the survey, majority of employees were happy to work on the public holiday in exchange for an extra day off.

This is also the case for Labour Day and the King's Birthday, where only 30.4% and 28.7% preferred not working on these public holidays, respectively.

According to the report, majority of employees (83.6%) don't want to work on Christmas Day, even if it meant getting an extra paid leave in exchange. Employees also don't want to work on New Year's Day (71.1%), as well as Good Friday (50.5%). 

Learn the dates of public holidays in Australia here.

Personalising employee benefits

The findings are critical in the wake of engagement and financial challenges faced by employees, according to Perkbox Australia country lead Ross McDonald.

"When pay rises aren't an option, companies need to consider creative, bespoke alternatives that address the challenges faced by the employee," McDonald said in a statement.

According to McDonald, personalisation of staff benefits could be critical in driving engagement in the workplace.

"Allowing a team member to work on a public holiday in exchange for extra leave is a simple change for most workplaces but can serve as a powerful reward for that team member."

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