More Australian companies have green lit policies which mean employees can choose to work on Australia Day public holiday.
Staff at Telstra and Woodside Energy can now choose whether to take January 26 as a public holiday, or choose to work through the day, The Australian reports.
Speaking to the publication, a Telstra spokesperson said employees could work on Australia Day and take the day off on another day.
“This flexibility is built into the Enterprise Agreements our employees voted on earlier this year,” they said.
A similar approach has also been implemented by major financial services firms like Deloitte, KPMG and EY, creative agency Dentsu ANZ, biotechnology firm CSL, investment manager Australian Ethical, mining giant BHP and more recently Channel 10.
Historically, January 26 signifies the day Sir Arthur Phillip arrived in Sydney Cove in 1788 and marks the beginning of British colonisation in Australia. However, sovereignty was never ceded by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people.
Growing disapproval of the Australia Day public holiday has also seen the date termed as Invasion Day or Survival Day, with the public holiday marked by celebrations of Indigenous culture, protests and rallies to ‘Abolish the Date’.
Employees at major companies will be able to choose whether they want to partake in the public holiday, Picture: Nick Bloukos
This week The Australian revealed that Channel 10 sent out a company-wide email which stated that January 26 will no loner be referred to as Australia Day.
Co-leads of Paramount Australia and New Zealand, Beverley McGarvey and Jarrod Villani said staff are not required to take the day off and acknowledged the “turbulent history” of the date for First Nations people.
“For our First Nations people, we as an organisation acknowledge that January 26 is not a day of celebration,” the email read.
“We recognise that January 26 evokes different emotions for our employees across the business, and we are receptive to employees who do not feel comfortable taking this day as a public holiday.
“Whether you choose to work on January 26 or take the public holiday, we ask that you reflect and respect the different perspectives and viewpoints of all Australians.”
Channel 10 presenter, Narelda Jacobs has been vocal about her desire to see the date for Australia Day changed.
Albanese government makes big January 26 change
Earlier this month, the Albanese government also declared that citizenship ceremonies could be held on the three days on either side of January 26.
This comes after former Prime Minister Scott Morrison enacted a rule which forced local governments to hold the citizenship ceremonies on January 26, or bypass the ceremony entirely.
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles announced the change and told SBS that holding the ceremony on a non-public holiday would also be most cost-effective for the government.
“Australian citizenship is an important common bond for all Australians, whether by birth or by choice, and lies at the heart of unified, cohesive and inclusive Australia,” he said.
“The government’s priority is to ensure that where people have made the choice to become Australian citizens, they are afforded that opportunity in their own communities with friends and family in a timely way.”
Andrew Giles said local councils can choose to hold citizenship ceremonies on the three days on either side of January 26. Picture: Arsineh Houspian
The move also comes as one Melbourne Council announced they would be scrapping the January 26 ceremony unless it was held on a day that is “inclusive to everyone”.
Merri-bek City Council Mayor Angelica Panopoulos said they welcomed the new initiative.
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“We are grateful that the federal government will allow us, and all councils, to listen to our communities and make decisions that are right for us when scheduling citizenship ceremonies in January,” Ms Panopoulos said.
“We will always listen to traditional owners and our First Nations community about matters that are important to them. January 26 is a painful day for many in our community and isn’t the right date to celebrate.”