The University of Wollongong (UOW) has joined a growing number of Australian organizations giving employees the option to work on Australia Day.

A woman in a red outfit smiles at the camera.

In a statement, the university said it acknowledged that January 26 was not a day of celebration for all Australians.

“That’s why, out of respect for all First Nations peoples, in January 2023 all fixed-term and permanent employees of the university will have the flexibility to work on January 26 instead of taking the day as a public holiday,” the statement said.

If staff choose to work, they can substitute either January 27 or January 30 for the public holiday.

The move has been supported by staff unions.

In late December, Telstra and Woodside announced they were offering the option of working on January 26, following similar moves by other major companies including Deloitte, KPMG, Spotify, and Channel 10.

UOW vice-chancellor Patricia Davidson said the decision was an important step in ensuring its staff’s diverse perspectives were valued and respected.

“I am hopeful that 2023 will provide us with outcomes that unite all Australians through a referendum for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our constitution,” Professor Davidson said.

The federal government has also given local councils the flexibility to choose whether or not to hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, allowing them to be three days before or after January 26.


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