How to Hack Your Annual Leave for Maximum Time Off in 2021

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How to Hack Your Annual Leave for Maximum Time Off in 2021
Image: Getty

2021 is here and we are back to the grind for another year.¬†After a year of no overseas holidays and working from home becoming the norm, there’s a number of reasons you might have some extra annual leave accrued. But when is the best time to take it?

Combining leave with public holidays is always an effective way of scoring an extra mini-break. Here are the dates to look forward to in all Australian states and terriroties in 2021.

January 2021

  • Tuesday 26 January (Australia Day)

The big one in January, signalling the end of the school holidays, is Australia Day. In January 2021, the Australia Day holiday is on a Tuesday, so by taking Monday the 25th off as well, you’ll get a nice four day weekend.

March 2021

  • Monday March 1 (Labour Day, WA only)
  • Monday March 8 (Canberra Day, ACT only)
  • Monday March 8 (Eight Hours Day, TAS only)
  • Monday March 8 (Labour Day, VIC only)
  • Monday March 8 (Adelaide Cup Day, SA only)

February is a slog and there are no public holidays, but come March there is a long weekend in sight. For selected states, you can take one day off on a Friday or Tuesday around the public holiday to get a four-day mini-break.

April 2021

April is Easter time, which brings it with it a nice little quarter-year break.

  • Friday April 2 (Good Friday)
  • Monday April 5 (Easter Monday)
  • Monday April 26 (Anzac Day in lieu for ACT, WA, QLD, SA, NT only)

In 2021, if you take the four days off in the week prior to Easter on April 2 or following April 5, you can get a ten-day break in exchange for only four days of leave.

Unfortunately, not every state will gain the Anzac Day public holiday this year as it falls on a Sunday. But if you’re in the ACT, QLD, WA, SA or Norther Territory you can take Friday the 23rd of April off for another four-day break.

May 2021

May rewards some regions and not others in Australia.

  • Monday May 3 (May Day, NT only)
  • Monday May 3 (Labour Day, QLD only)
  • Monday May 31 (Reconciliation Day, ACT only)

If you’re located in any of these areas, take one day off for a four-day weekend or take four days off for a nine-day break.

June 2021

  • Monday June 7 (Queen’s Birthday, WA only)
  • Monday June 14 (Queen’s Birthday, excl. QLD and WA)

In June, we celebrate our regent the Queen. Take a four day weekend or use four days of annual leave to get a nine-day mid-year holiday.

August 2021

After no public holidays in July, a few states are rewarded in August.

  • Monday August 2 (Picnic Day, NT only)
  • Wednesday August 11 (Show Day, QLD only)

For those in QLD, the Royal Show day falls on a Wednesday each year, so taking two days on either side will give you a five-day break or taking four days will give you nine days off in total.

September 2021

  • Monday 27 September (Queen’s Birthday, WA only)

Western Australia takes the Queen’s birthday in September, although some regions celebrate the public holiday on a different day in WA. Maximise that time off by taking the Friday off for a four day weekend.

September is normally when the AFL Grand Final public holiday would occur for Victoria, but this is currently TBC pending the AFL schedule.

October 2021

  • Monday October 4 (Labour Day, ACT, NSW, SA only)
  • Monday October 4 (Queen’s Birthday, QLD only)

A small break in October is one of the only public holidays to look forward to in the back half of the year. Take a long weekend or use up four days and take the whole week off for nine days on holiday.

November 2021

  • Tuesday November 2 (Melbourne Cup, VIC only)

Victorians can get an easy four-day weekend by taking Monday the 1st of November as leave.

December 2021

Looking ahead to December 2021, there are plenty of public holidays to choose from. Here are the days you should plan your Christmas break around in 2021:

  • Saturday 25 December (Christmas Day)
  • Sunday 26 December (Boxing Day)
  • Monday 27 December (Christmas Day in lieu)
  • Tuesday 28 December (Boxing Day in lieu)
  • Monday 3rd January 2022 (New Year’s Day in lieu)

With all the public holidays falling on weekends for Christmas in 2021, you can still get an easy ten-day break by using just three days of annual leave from December 29-31. If you want to take the four days off in the week following (from Jan 4-7) you can get a truly epic 16 day holiday for only seven days of leave.

You can see a full list of all the public holidays this year in each Australian state here.

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