How to Hack Your Annual Leave for Maximum Time off in the Final Months of 2021

How to Hack Your Annual Leave for Maximum Time off in the Final Months of 2021
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After an age of no overseas holidays and ever-changing border restrictions, 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 public holiday dates to keep in mind across all Australian states and territories throughout 2021.

Australian public holidays for 2021

January 2021

  • Tuesday, January 26

The big one in January, signalling the end of the school holidays, is January 26. In 2021, this holiday fell on a Tuesday, so by taking Monday the 25th off as well, you would have gotten 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, taking one day off on a Friday or Tuesday around the public holiday would have won you 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 took the four days off in the week prior to Easter on April 2 or following April 5, you got a ten-day break in exchange for only four days of leave.

Unfortunately, not every state saw the Anzac Day public holiday this year as it fell on a Sunday. But if you’re in the ACT, QLD, WA, SA or Northern Territory you could have taken 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, taking one day off got you a four-day weekend or four days off equated to 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 celebrated our regent the Queen. Taking a day off could have won you a four day weekend, while four days of annual leave would have gotten you a nine-day mid-year holiday.

August 2021

After no public holidays in July, a few states were 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 gives you a five-day break or taking four days gives you nine days off in total.

September 2021

  • Friday, September 24 (AFL Grand Final, VIC only)
  • Monday, September 27 (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 Friday off for a four day weekend.

Victoria’s AFL Grand Final public holiday has moved around somewhat since COVID-19 entered into our lives. But although the final will not be held in Victoria this year, Premier Dan Andrews has confirmed the state will still observe the public holiday on the Friday before the sporting event.

If you take off the following Monday too, you’ll land yourself a nice four day weekend. Alternatively, taking four days of leave from Monday, September 20 gets you a full week off.

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

Now that December 2021 is upon us, there are plenty of public holidays to choose from. Here are the days you should plan your Christmas break around in 2021:

  • Saturday, December 25 (Christmas Day)
  • Sunday, December 26 (Boxing Day)
  • Monday, December 27 (Christmas Day in lieu)
  • Tuesday, December 28 (Boxing Day in lieu)
  • Monday, January 3, 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.

Looking further ahead to January in 2022 (because you might want to start booking your leave now) the Australia Day public holiday falls on January 26 which is a Wednesday.

That means if you’d like another extended mini-break in January all you have to do is take off the two days on either side of January 26 for an epic 5 day weekend. What a way to end the summer!

If you want to start planning your 2022 leave now that international travel is back, here’s our guide to hacking the 2022 public holidays.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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