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“We’d like to offer you a consultant post. Before you accept, however, please note the terms and conditions of the post, and in particular the following stipulation: After ten years of continuous employment we insist that you take, in addition to your usual annual leave, a further three months of paid holiday …”.
Most of us would wake up at this point and realise that it was all a dream. In fact, judging from the panic regarding senior posts amongst paediatric trainees in the UK, some would regard the offer of the job as the surprising part of the dream.
Long service leave is a quirk of Australian employment history. Like many other quirks, folk have become used to it, and any fundamental alteration to it would be political suicide. The original reasoning went, I think, something like this. Many Australians were European immigrants who had left family behind. The boat trip to Europe took a few weeks, and so for someone to maintain any ties with “back home” they needed enough holiday for the trip. …
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