Want to know how to maximise your annual leave in 2020? Here’s how.

Annual leave.  Two words that simultaneously produce feelings of elation and dread.

Elation, because holidays are awesome and you’re so over work.

Dread, because ‘annual leave’ comes as marketed – you get those twenty days a year, and then it’s done, gone, finished until sometime (probably Christmas) twelve months later.

We don’t think that’s fair.  You’ve worked hard, and you deserve more than three weeks with your family.

That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide for how to maximise your annual leave.  Although the details vary from state to state, the best way to enjoy extended holiday time is to plan your holidays well ahead of time, and structure them around pre-existing public holidays.


Australia Day – 27 January

1 Leave Day = 4 Days of Holidaying

OR 4 Leave Days = 9 Days of Holidaying

australia day boy with flags

Ah, Australia Day.  Despite the controversy surrounding this particular public holiday, it remains (as of 2020), one of the best times to plan a short getaway.

Because it falls on a Monday, you can take a day of annual leave on either the preceding Friday or the following Tuesday.  Straight away, you’ve turned 1 day of annual leave into 4 days of holidaying.  Not bad, right?

If you’ve lined up some great accommodation rates, you can even use up a few more days of annual leave, and go from the 25th of January to the 2nd of February.  You’ll turn 4 days of annual leave into a 9-day holiday.

Australia Day is going to be busy if you stay in the country, so it can be a great time to nip across to the beaches of Bali or Lombok, or grab some cooler weather by heading to New Zealand.

maximise your annual leave in 2020 download guide

Labour Day

1 Leave Day = 4 Days of Holidaying

OR 4 Leave Days = 9 Days of Holidaying

family holiday at airlie beach
A family exploring wilderness near Airlie Beach, Queensland

The actual date for Labour Day varies depending on which state you work in, but (thankfully) every Labour Day falls on a Monday, which means you can use the same techniques we just taught you for Australia Day.

Make it a long weekend by taking the Friday off, or use up 4 days of leave during that week to create a 9-day holiday.  Because Labour Day isn’t a national holiday, it’s a great time to visit a different state – everyone else will still be at work, and you won’t be stuck in line for attractions.

Australia Labour Day Public Holidays by State
2 March 9 March 4 May 5 October


Easter – 10 April to 13 April

4 Leave Days = 10 Days of Holidaying

OR 8 Leave Days = 16 Days of Holidaying

aerial view of the gili islands, lombok
The Gili Islands, Lombok – definitely a holiday your kids would remember!

Christmas aside, Easter is the year’s biggest public holiday combination, but there’s a way to get even more out of it.  Good Friday starts on the 10th, so, if you take the preceding four days off (6 April to 9 April), you’ve already managed to turn 4 days of annual leave into 10 days of holidaying.

Now, let’s think about adding another four days of leave in there following Easter Monday (14 April to 17 April).  8 days of annual leave becomes 16 days of holidaying – wow!

Tasmanians really luck it in here, because 14 April is actually a public holiday in Australia’s southernmost state.  A holiday of this size is perfect for a proper getaway, the kind of sprawling family holiday that the kids remember for the rest of their lives.


Queen’s Birthday

1 Leave Day = 4 Days of Holidaying

OR 4 Leave Days = 9 Days of Holidaying

marcoola beach aerial view
Marcoola Beach, one of Australia’s best mini vacation destinations

Like Labour Day, the Queen’s Birthday falls on different Mondays depending on which state you’re in, but it’s another case of using 4 days of annual leave to produce a fairly great 9-day holiday, or using a single day of annual leave to get yourself a 4-day mini vacay.

If you’re thinking, “don’t be silly, four days isn’t enough time to actually enjoy a holiday, I may as well just stay at home and do housework”, think again.  We’ve actually written a guide on how to make the most of very short vacations, so why don’t you have a read?  You might get some inspiration!

Australia Queen’s Birthday Public Holidays by State
8 June 28 September 5 October


Christmas and New Year

Christmas at the Royal Arcade, Melbourne
Christmas at the Royal Arcade, one of Melbourne CBD’s best shopping malls

If you’re like most people, Christmas is the best time for using up all that leave.  A big fat holiday right in the middle of school holidays sounds right up your alley.

In 2020, Christmas falls on a Friday, so you can use 7 days of annual leave to generate a sprawling 16-day holiday.  Take the 21st to the 24th of December off, as well as the 29th to the 31st.

The Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland get the 24th off (Christmas Eve public holiday), which is good to remember if you live in those states.  The New Year’s Day public holiday for 2021 falls on a Friday, which will carry you over into the weekend.  How great is that?

If you use up just 7 days of leave over Christmas, you’ve still got another 13 days you can use over the rest of the year.  Longer holidays more frequently means you and your family get to relax more often and spend more time together.  You can thank us later.

If some of these holiday periods don’t suit your schedule (or you’re lucky enough to have more-than-average annual leave!), then check out state-specific public holidays that fall on Mondays or Fridays here.  A single day of leave can easily turn a long weekend of household chores into a fun-packed mini vacay.

Well, that’s enough from us – we’re off to plan our 2020 itineraries.  See you out there, fellow wanderers!

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maximise your annual leave in 2020 download guide

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