January 26 is fast approaching, and for many, the date brings up loads of uncomfortable feelings. Much like the one-off public holiday that was put in place to mourn Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, there are mixed views on having a public holiday for such a contentious reason. What you may not realise, however, is that depending on the kind of job you have, you might be able to swap your public holiday dates.
This was brought to light by Indigenous-led brand, Clothing the Gaps, with regard to the September 22 public holiday, and the same stands for January 26.
In a statement on Instagram, CEO and CoFounder of Clothing the Gaps, Gunditjmara woman Laura Thompson shared that:
“Out of respect for our ancestors Clothing The Gaps stores will remain open on the 22nd of September [public holiday].”
Speaking with our friends at Pedestrian at the time, Laura Thompson shared that:
“The traditional custodians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, certainly weren’t mourning the death of the Queen, nor were we celebrating. For us, it was a moment to reflect on the colonisation of this country and the impacts on First Nations people.”
If you, too, feel uncomfortable taking a day off work for an event that causes so many so much pain, know that there may be options for you.
Planning for January 26: How can I swap a public holiday date?
For those who were previously unaware that swapping a public holiday date out was an option, Clothing the Gaps has put together a clear guide on everything you need to know here. We recommend you give it a good read-through.
In essence, it shares that if your values do not align with taking a public holiday on certain dates (like January 26), you may be able to ask to work that day and take another day off instead.
This obviously needs to be cleared with your employer beforehand, and it does depend on your employment contract. But per FairWork, employees covered “by an award or agreement” are eligible for substitute public holidays. The website reads:
These employees can agree with their employer to substitute a public holiday if their award or agreement allows it.
While your specific situation will depend on your employment and employer (we can’t promise you this will be an option in all cases), it’s worth knowing that you may be able to ask to work something out that fits your values better.
The public holiday for January 26 is as good a chance as any to learn about the options available here.
This article has been updated since its original publish date to reflect January 26 public holiday.
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