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 How to turn your 2021 annual leave into double the days off
Taking time off3.5 min read

How to turn your 2021 annual leave into double the days off

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Most of us will be glad to see the back of 2020, but before you we dive into 2021, it’s worth looking at how to boost your annual leave days for the coming year.

Here’s how to strategically use 15 days of annual leave, in combination with public holidays, to get longer breaks throughout 2021 – including some 10-day stretches. All up, 38 days’ worth! Plus, we also show how to see out 2020 with time off, too.

Why it’s important to take annual leave

Most full-time workers in Australia are entitled to four weeks of paid annual leave a year. When used wisely, this time off can reap huge rewards for you both personally and professionally. In fact, 35% of Aussies say that regularly taking time out to concentrate on themselves and the things they enjoy has a huge impact on their mental health.

Taking time off is especially important after the unique stresses that 2020 has brought, says Joel Broughton Head of Talent Acquisition at BlueCross. “Taking annual leave allows you to switch off and recharge your batteries in order to come back to work refreshed and ready to meet challenges,” he says.

“Having some leave booked for the future generally means I’m looking forward to something positive and allows me to maintain a positive outlook. This is a particularly important strategy for maintaining good mental health.”

Get the most out of your annual leave by joining it with public holidays

“Combining annual leave with public holidays is a great way to maximise your leave,” Broughton says. “Although if you are planning to take annual leave around gazetted public holidays, book your leave early.”

While some public holidays may differ slightly between Australian states, the major holidays (Australia Day, Easter, Anzac Day and Christmas) all offer an opportunity to boost your days off.

Christmas 2020

You can get a 10-day break (December 25 – January 3) by taking just three days off from December 29–31.

  • Friday December 25: Christmas Day public holiday
  • Saturday December 26: Boxing Day (weekend)
  • Sunday December 27: Weekend
  • Monday December 28: Boxing Day public holiday
  • Tuesday December 29: Annual leave
  • Wednesday December 30: Annual leave
  • Thursday December 31: Annual leave
  • Friday January 1: Public holiday
  • Saturday January 2: Weekend
  • Sunday January 3: Weekend

January 2021

Get an extra-long weekend for Australia Day by taking off the four days from January 25–29. This means you’ll get a nine-day break, starting from January 23.

  • Saturday January 23: Weekend
  • Sunday January 24: Weekend
  • Monday January 25: Annual leave
  • Tuesday January 26: Australia Day public holiday
  • Wednesday January 27: Annual leave
  • Thursday January 28: Annual leave
  • Friday January 29: Annual leave
  • Saturday January 30: Weekend
  • Sunday January 31: Weekend

Easter

If you’re keen for another 10-day holiday from April 2–11, you can take four days of annual leave from April 6–9.

  • Friday April 2: Good Friday public holiday
  • Saturday April 3: Weekend
  • Sunday April 4: Easter Sunday public holiday
  • Monday April 5: Easter Monday public holiday
  • Tuesday April 6: Annual leave (Tasmanians get this as a public holiday)
  • Wednesday April 7: Annual leave
  • Thursday April 8: Annual leave
  • Friday April 9: Annual leave
  • Saturday April 10: Weekend
  • Sunday April 11: Weekend

Anzac Day

It’s possible that you can have more days off in April than you have at work if you book another four days off from April 27–30.

These dates combine with a weekend and Anzac Day, giving you a total of nine days off. Victoria, NSW and Tasmania don’t usually give a public holiday for Anzac Day on the following Monday, so make sure you check what applies in your state.

  • Saturday April 24: Weekend
  • Sunday April 25: Anzac Day
  • Monday April 26: Public holiday
  • Tuesday April 27: Annual leave
  • Wednesday April 28: Annual leave
  • Thursday April 29: Annual leave
  • Friday April 30: Annual leave
  • Saturday May 1: Weekend
  • Sunday May 2: Weekend

Christmas and January 2022

If you want to get really organised for 2021, book in three days of annual leave from Dec 29–31, 2021. That means you’ll be in line for a 10-day break from Dec 25–January 2.

  • Saturday December 25: Weekend (Christmas Day)
  • Sunday December 26: Weekend (Boxing Day)
  • Monday December 27: Christmas Day public holiday
  • Tuesday December 28: Boxing Day public holiday
  • Wednesday December 29: Annual leave
  • Thursday December 30: Annual leave
  • Friday December 31: Annual leave
  • Saturday January 1, 2022: Weekend (New Year’s Day)
  • Sunday January 2: Weekend
  • Monday January 3: New Year’s Day public holiday

And this potentially still leaves 5 days of annual leave to use as you wish. You could use them together or spread them out over a few weekends to get a few bigger breaks during the year. If you’re in Victoria, for example, the Melbourne Cup on Nov 2 could be a prime time to take more leave for a long weekend.

Annual leave gives you an opportunity to unplug from work and have a break long enough to return to work refreshed. It can also give you the time and space to think about new directions for your career or new ways of doing things.

By looking at all the public holidays coming up in the next year, you can build an annual leave plan that maximises your chance to recharge your batteries.

Source: Independent research conducted by Nature of behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4800 Australians annually. Published December 2020.

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