As an organisation committed to strengthening our relationships with the Traditional Custodians and Elders of the lands on which we live and work, and one which is also committed to supporting reconciliation in Australia, TSA Group recognise that there is a diversity of views about what 26 January has come to symbolise.
Written by Cheyanne Enciso
Originally published in The West Australian 17 January 2023
Read the article below or on The West Australian
WA companies show support for changing the date of Australia Day
Businesses working together on January 26 debate
WA companies are following the decision of some of the nation’s biggest firms in allowing staff to work the Australia Day public holiday as a show of support for changing the date.
Tamara Cook, director and chief executive of 15-year-old management company Known Associates Events, said the entire team would work January 26 and take leave the following day instead.
“There was a resounding feeling within the company that January 26 is not a day of celebration,” Ms Cook, pictured far right, said.
“The more people that stand up and make a change in their small circles or parts of their community, the bigger this social change becomes.”
Pointing to Australian Banking Association data which showed 98 per cent of the 2.6 million businesses in the nation were small and medium enterprises, Ms Cook said firms such as hers played an important role in changing the narrative.
“I think people with small businesses underestimate the effect that they can have on changing society for the better,” she said.
Telstra and oil and gas giant Woodside Energy introduced a new policy last year giving employees the option to either take the public holiday or take the leave on another day of their choosing.
A Telstra spokesman said the flexibility was built into the company’s enterprise agreements, which were voted on by its employees in early 2022.
“Our employees have the choice to take the Australia Day public holiday or take leave on another day,” he said.
Perth-based conglomerate Wesfarmers introduced a similar policy in December last year.
“At Wesfarmers corporate office, we have recently updated our leave policy to allow team members to substitute up to two public holidays each year, including Australia Day, for an alternative day of paid leave for cultural, religious or personal reasons,” a spokeswoman said.
The policy applied to about 300 employees in the Perth head office.
Call centre and customer service provider TSA Group has also given its employees the choice to work on the Australia Day public holiday and take a day in lieu at a later date.
Chief people and corporate affairs officer Zahra Peggs, pictured left, said the decision, which was announced in early January, was part of the company’s ongoing efforts to foster a “genuinely” inclusive and diverse environment.
“We like to think of ourselves as a contemporary employer,” she said.
“More particularly, it’s about reflecting on TSA’s contribution and commitment to advancing the case for reconciliation in Australia.”
Ms Peggs said the option was open to all of its 2800 employees nationwide, including 610 full time staff in its West Perth office.
“The feedback we’ve received so far is positive and people are grateful for the option and the flexibility to exercise their individual choice about what they want to do on that day,” she said.
She added the policy would remain in place for the upcoming years.
“We’re excited to see how the policy continues to develop over the years,” she said.
Brisbane-based mining tech startup Plotlogic has given its 75 staff across Australia, including the five employees in its Perth office, the choice to work on the Australia Day public holiday and opt to take the day off on January 27.
Plotlogic commercial vice-president Marty Keetels said the option was communicated to staff early last week.
“That particular day means different things for different people,” he said.
“It’s part of our diversity and inclusion policy that we have and we want to be the employer of choice for people of all beliefs.” Mr Keetels said about 30 per cent of staff had already decided to work on January 26 and take a lieu day at a later date, while the remaining employees had until January 23 to decide.
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