During my initial orientation of my work benefits after moving to the Australia office, the HR rep informed me of something I was going to get through sheer, awesome dumb luck: long service leave, a benefit unique to Australia but standard for all businesses in the country.
When Australia was still a far-flung colony destination for the British, people still yearned for the motherland, its glorious weather, rich cuisine, hearty atmosphere… Um, well, they yearned for SOMETHING back in England. Since the only way back for most was by ship, these pilgrimages tended to be rather long, so as a way to ensure people would have a job when they eventually came back, the Long Service Leave policy was instated, granting every worker who had loyally worked for their company for ten years two months of paid time off.
Flash forward to the 21st century, and despite all the advances in travel allowing overnight trips to pretty much anywhere in the world, Australians will be damned if they’re going to give up two months paid time off. And, chalk it up to loyalty or laziness, my arrival in Sydney marked just over 9 years with the same company, which has managed to retain my seniority through my move. Despite my cynical anticipation, the company does not include me among the unnecessarily costly employees through their layoffs as the economic recession hits. And after some email-based nudging to HR, I just got confirmation today that I now have 44 days of Long Service Leave, in addition to my regular annual leave. Nearly 9 weeks of time off.
I’m so lucky it’s disgusting.