Unilever allows employees to swap public holidays

With the interchangeable holiday policy, employees at Unilever are free to exchange a public holiday for another day that is more significant to them.
By: | January 26, 2023

Having started an interchangeable holiday policy in 2021, Unilever Australia and New Zealand has been encouraging employees to exchange public holidays for other days that are more culturally significant to them.

A change in a public holiday day is permissible under New Zealand’s employment laws. A request for a transfer of public holidays can be made either by the employer or by the employee and must be considered in good faith by both parties. The law also requires that any agreement meet the minimum requirements set out in the law, reported Newshub.

Highlighting the flexibility and freedom the policy gives to employees, Shruti Ganeriwala, Head of HR at Unilever Australia and New Zealand, said, “This means that if our employees would prefer to work on a public holiday, they can exchange this day for one of the many other days of cultural significance throughout the year that isn’t already a public holiday.”

“We want Unilever to be a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace for all. To do this, it’s essential our policies and workforce are representative and supportive of the many rich cultures and identities that make up Australia and New Zealand.”

READ: Unilever trials four-day workweek in Australian office

The push comes as a number of organisations are offering their employees the option of working on Australia Day on January 26 in light of the continuing controversy surrounding this day, which marks the arrival of the first British settlers to the country in 1788.

A number of organisations in Australia have made January 26 an optional public holiday since most Australians do not observe the date as a holiday. Likewise, public service employees can also choose their holidays following the departure of the Morrison government last year.