Parsis Are Australia’s most diligent workers


May 4, 2007

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Culture | Industry

AT last the question on everybody’s lips has been answered: The hardest working believers in Australia are are Zoroastrians.

With just two religious holidays a year, the followers of the prophet Zoroaster are four times as diligent as Muslims, five times more than Hindus, and put the Jews and Orthodox Christians to shame.

While workplace consultants Enterprise Initiatives are advising employers how to rip-off their workers on public holidays, the NSW Government is giving away days off left right and centre.

A directive from the Premier’s Department has instructed public service managers to accommodate up to 74 days off a year for various religious holidays.

However there is a catch: To capitalise on all 74 days you would have to be a member of 11 religions at once. Also, you have to use your personal leave, so you would have to save your holidays for a few years.

Still, if you are a public servant recovering from a heavy night on the tiles and you’ve used up all your sick days, it might be worth telling your boss that you have just converted to Baha’i and need to take the day off to celebrate the Twelfth Day of Ridvan. However keep in mind that this will only work on the 2nd of May.

After that you have to wait until May 23 for the Declaration of the Bab. And with the Baha’ians only getting eight days off a year you could still do much better.

Orthodox Christians top the list with 13 holidays a year, ranging from old favourites such as Easter to Orthodox Whit Monday on May 21. You still get Christmas too, but you have to wait until January 7.

The Jews are not far behind on 12 days a year followed by 10 for the Hindus and eight for Muslims.

“The purpose of this circular is to highlight the Government’s commitment to accommodate the culturally diverse nature of the public sector workforce,” former Premier’s Department director-general Col Gellatly said in the memo.

A spokesman for the department stressed these days off were no free ride.

“It’s important to have a consolidated list of recognised days of religious significance as a reference for public sector managers assessing leave applications,” he said.

“These days are not treated like public holidays for workers. Those seeking to observe religious holidays must access their leave or flexible work hour entitlements.”

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