In Australia we live in a multicultural nation, where we embrace the diversity, culture and religion associated with our multiculturalism.

Recognising and embracing diversity in the workplace helps employees feel valued for their unique qualities, ideas and perspectives and extends to recognising that employees may wish to celebrate culturally important or religious days and events throughout the year. Some examples of cultural or religious holidays include Lunar New Year, Diwali, Ramadan and NAIDOC Week.

Many religious and cultural holidays observed in Australia aren't recognised as public holidays. This means that employees may wish to take time off work throughout the year to celebrate these holidays.

If an employer is looking to support the needs of their employee(s) participating in cultural or religious holidays they can:

·      allow employees to use leave entitlements to take time off work;

·      acknowledge or celebrate these holidays in the workplace to promote awareness and inclusion;

·      agree to flexible working arrangements, such as a change to hours, patterns or locations of work to accommodate the holiday.

Employers who acknowledge cultural or religious holidays can see benefits throughout the whole workplace through increased workplace morale, greater job satisfaction and productivity.

It is important to remember that employers cannot discriminate against employees because of their religion or national extraction. Applications for leave to celebrate cultural or religious holidays should be approved unless there are reasonable business grounds to decline this leave. In the event that leave cannot be approved on reasonable business grounds, employers are encouraged to consult with their employees to establish a mutually agreeable outcome to meet the needs of the employee and the organisation.

If you would like further information on cultural/religious holidays or how to embrace multiculturalism – we can help. Just email solve@fiveseven.com.au

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