How Many Days of Holidays Per Year in Australia

by CiCi
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Australia, known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, also boasts a diverse and rich holiday tradition. The number of holidays Australians enjoy annually is a topic of interest for both residents and visitors alike. Understanding the holiday system in Australia involves delving into public holidays, state-specific holidays, and annual leave entitlements. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the various holidays Australians are entitled to, highlighting the differences across states and territories, and exploring how these holidays contribute to the unique cultural fabric of the nation.

Public Holidays in Australia

Public holidays in Australia are days when most businesses and schools are closed, and employees are typically entitled to a day off with pay. These holidays can be divided into national public holidays and state or territory-specific public holidays.


National Public Holidays

There are several public holidays that are observed nationwide. These include:


New Year’s Day (January 1): Celebrated across the country, New Year’s Day marks the beginning of the calendar year with various festivities and events.

Australia Day (January 26): This holiday commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson in New South Wales in 1788. It is a day of national pride, celebrated with fireworks, parades, and community events.

Good Friday: Part of the Easter weekend, Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a solemn day, often marked by church services and reflection.

Easter Monday: The day after Easter Sunday, this holiday extends the Easter celebrations, allowing families more time to gather and celebrate.

Anzac Day (April 25): Anzac Day honors the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served and died in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. Dawn services and parades are common across the country.

Christmas Day (December 25): A major holiday celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike, Christmas Day is a time for family gatherings, gift-giving, and festive meals.

Boxing Day (December 26): The day after Christmas, Boxing Day is known for sporting events such as the Boxing Day Test cricket match and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. It is also a popular day for shopping and sales.

State and Territory-Specific Public Holidays

In addition to the national public holidays, each state and territory in Australia observes its own specific public holidays. These holidays reflect local traditions, historical events, and regional celebrations. Some examples include:

Labour Day: Celebrated on different dates across various states, Labour Day commemorates the achievements of the labour movement and the adoption of the eight-hour workday.

Queen’s Birthday: This holiday celebrates the birthday of the reigning monarch. The date varies between states, typically observed in June in most states and territories, except for Western Australia and Queensland, which celebrate it on different dates.

Melbourne Cup Day (Victoria): Held on the first Tuesday in November, Melbourne Cup Day is a horse racing event known as “the race that stops a nation.” It is a public holiday in Victoria.

Western Australia Day (Western Australia): Celebrated on the first Monday in June, this holiday commemorates the founding of the Swan River Colony in 1829.

Adelaide Cup Day (South Australia): Held on the second Monday in March, this holiday is marked by the Adelaide Cup horse race.

Royal Queensland Show (Ekka) Public Holiday (Queensland): This holiday celebrates the annual agricultural show held in Brisbane, known as the Ekka. The date varies each year.

Regional and Local Holidays

In addition to state and territory-specific holidays, some regions and localities within states have their own unique public holidays. These holidays may be specific to certain cities, towns, or regions, reflecting local customs and events.

Annual Leave Entitlements

In addition to public holidays, Australian employees are entitled to a certain amount of paid annual leave each year. The standard annual leave entitlement for full-time employees is four weeks (20 working days) per year. This leave is accrued progressively throughout the year based on the employee’s ordinary hours of work.

Additional Leave for Shift Workers

Shift workers, who are required to work outside the normal hours of a standard working week, may be entitled to an additional week of annual leave, bringing their total to five weeks per year. This additional leave recognizes the challenges and disruptions associated with shift work.

Long Service Leave

Long service leave is an additional leave entitlement that rewards employees for extended periods of service with the same employer. The entitlement to long service leave varies between states and territories, but it generally becomes available after 7 to 10 years of continuous service. The standard entitlement is typically around 8.67 weeks of leave after 10 years of service, with additional leave accruing for longer periods of service.

Total Number of Holidays and Leave Days

To calculate the total number of holidays and leave days Australians enjoy each year, we need to consider the combination of public holidays and annual leave entitlements.

Public Holidays

On average, Australians have around 10 to 12 public holidays per year, depending on their state or territory. For example, in New South Wales, there are 10 public holidays, while in Victoria, there are 13. The variation is due to the state-specific holidays observed in addition to the national public holidays.

Annual Leave

Full-time employees are entitled to four weeks of annual leave per year. Shift workers may receive an additional week, bringing their total to five weeks. Part-time employees accrue leave on a pro-rata basis, based on their ordinary hours of work.

Long Service Leave

Long service leave entitlements add to the total number of leave days an employee can take over an extended period. While this leave is not taken annually, it contributes to the overall leave entitlements available to long-term employees.

Example Calculation

For a full-time employee in New South Wales, the total number of holidays and leave days per year would be:

  • Public holidays: 10 days
  • Annual leave: 20 days (4 weeks)

This gives a total of 30 days off per year. For shift workers, the total would be:

  • Public holidays: 10 days
  • Annual leave: 25 days (5 weeks)

This gives a total of 35 days off per year.

Impact of Holidays on Australian Culture

The holidays in Australia play a significant role in shaping the cultural and social landscape of the nation. They provide opportunities for families and friends to come together, celebrate, and participate in various activities. The diverse range of holidays reflects the multicultural nature of Australian society, with different communities bringing their own traditions and celebrations to the mix.

Social and Community Events

Many public holidays in Australia are marked by social and community events that bring people together. For example, Australia Day is celebrated with barbecues, fireworks, and community festivals, while Anzac Day features dawn services, marches, and commemorative events across the country. These events foster a sense of community and national pride.

Sporting Events

Sporting events are a significant part of Australian culture, and many public holidays are associated with major sporting events. The Melbourne Cup, Boxing Day Test cricket match, and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race are just a few examples of holidays that coincide with popular sporting events, drawing large crowds and fostering a festive atmosphere.

Cultural Celebrations

Australia’s multicultural population means that holidays from various cultural and religious traditions are celebrated alongside national holidays. For instance, Lunar New Year, Diwali, and Eid are celebrated by different communities across the country, adding to the rich tapestry of Australian holiday culture.

Work-Life Balance

The combination of public holidays and annual leave entitlements contributes to a healthy work-life balance for Australian employees. These holidays provide opportunities for rest, relaxation, and quality time with family and friends, promoting overall well-being and job satisfaction.

See also: How Many Holidays Are There in Australia


In conclusion, Australians enjoy a significant number of holidays each year, including national and state-specific public holidays, annual leave entitlements, and long service leave. The total number of holidays and leave days varies depending on the state or territory and the employee’s work arrangements. These holidays play a crucial role in shaping Australian culture, fostering community spirit, and promoting a healthy work-life balance. Whether it’s celebrating Australia Day with a barbecue, attending an Anzac Day dawn service, or enjoying a long-awaited holiday with family, the diverse range of holidays in Australia contributes to the unique and vibrant cultural fabric of the nation.


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