Labour Day

Date

  • the first Monday in October in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and South Australia
  • the second Monday in March in both Victoria and Tasmania
  • the first Monday in March in Western Australia

History

Labour Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. On 21 April 1856 workers on building sites around Melbourne, Australia, stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an eight hour day. Their direct action protest was a success. They are noted as the first organised workers in the world to achieve an eight hour day with no loss of pay, which subsequently inspired the celebration of Labour Day and May Day.

Traditional observance

Labour Day is a public holiday in Australia. Since the holiday is fixed by the various state and territory governments, the dates vary considerably. Traditionally, workers, public or private, are entitled to take off with regular pay. In recent years this tradition has changed somewhat. For example, businesses that are normally open may require employees to work that day.
 
 

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