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HSF trials new public holiday swap initiative

From next month, Herbert Smith Freehills will trial a new Australian initiative designed to give its staff greater flexibility around public holiday leave. 

user iconNaomi Neilson 24 September 2021 Big Law
HSF trials new public holiday swap initiative
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From Friday, 1 October, Herbert Smith Freehills’ (HSF) permanent employees and maximum-term contractors can use the new “public holiday swap” initiative to work on the public holiday and instead take a different day as leave in the same calendar year. If successful, the new policy will be extended beyond the initial 12 months.

HSF head of diversity and inclusion Danielle Kelly said the policy will give its people “greater flexibility” to choose when they work in a way that recognises diversity.


“We understand that our people have different religious and cultural practices, as well as different political beliefs. Unlike some other organisations which require their people to provide evidence of a specific religious or cultural practice in order to swap public holidays, our new policy provides greater flexibility by allowing our people to apply to their supervisor to swap without the need to specify a reason,” she said. 

Ms Kelly added that, as with any other initiative, “good communication in teams and with supervisors is key to the smooth operation of the policy”. 

Australian HR director Alissa Anderson said that the new initiative will complement and strengthen its existing flexible work practices and drive greater inclusion. 

“As a firm, we believe that empowering our people with more flexibility to make choices about how they work helps them to deliver great results for our clients and for our business,” Ms Anderson said. 

Due to the firms’ operation closures over the Christmas/New Year’s period, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years’ Day are exempt from the initiative. 

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