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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor


2024 public holidays hack: How to turn your 15 days annual leave into 40!

With some clever planning around the 2024 public holidays, you could stretch your annual leave from 15 to a whopping 40 days.


It’s back to the grind and back to school for most of us after the mad festive rush that comes with the December holidays. No wonder one feels like one needs a holiday to “recover” from your holiday!

Here are some tips and tricks on how to maximise your 2024 annual leave with long weekends and public holidays.

ALSO READ: Back-to-school: Term dates, new subjects and shorter holidays for 2024…

2024 public holidays: ‘Bonus’ day for elections

South Africa will have 14 public holidays this year. This includes an additional day off to celebrate a public holiday that falls over a weekend and the anticipated day off for this year’s elections.

While the official voting day is yet to be announced, it is anticipated that it will fall around the same time as the previous national election which was held on 8 May 2019.

By law, the day we are all expected to go to the ballot boxes must be declared a public holiday. This in to allow every citizen a chance to take part in the democratic process and make their mark. 

ALSO READ: Key statistics ahead of South Africa’s 2024 elections

Public holidays hack challenge

Let’s break down the public holidays hack challenge. With some clever planning, it is possible to stretch one’s 15 allocated leave days, so it could miraculously turn into round about 40 days off instead.

The trick is to take your time off in strategic batches. Take a look at the 2024 public holiday calendar:

  • 21 March: Human Rights Day
  • 29 March: Good Friday
  • 1 April: Family Day
  • 27 April: Freedom Day
  • 1 May: Workers’ Day
  • May (TBD) – 2024 National Election
  • 16 June: Youth Day
  • 17 June: Public holiday (Youth Day observed)
  • 9 August: National Women’s Day
  • 24 September: Heritage Day
  • 16 December: Day of Reconciliation
  • 25 December: Christmas Day
  • 26 December: Day of Goodwill

Maximise your leave: Dates to book for some extra time off

Take a look at the following detailed breakdown of all the opportunities presented by the 2024 public holiday calendar to cash in on some “extended leave”.

The public holiday calendar

March – April:

A prime chance comes hopping along in April over the Easter period.

Easter falls on 29 March (Friday) to 1 April (Monday).

Easter hack: Take Thursday (28 March) off and 2 and 3 April and this will give you seven days off. By taking off just four additional days from 29 April to 3 May, you can stretch the holiday into an indulgent nine-day getaway. 

Alternatively, take off Monday, 25 March to Thursday 28 March OR Tuesday, 2 April to Friday, 5 April to get a blissful 10 days off.

ALSO READ: How to celebrate the upcoming Easter holidays on a budget this year

April – May:

With 27 April (Freedom Day), take off Monday, 20 April to Friday 3 May to get nine days off.

June:
With Youth Day on Sunday, 16 June, the day will be observed on Monday 17 June.

Take off Tuesday, 18 June to Friday, 21 June to get nine days off.

August:

Women’s Day is on Friday, 9 August.

You’ll get nine consecutive days off (including two weekends) by taking leave from Monday, 5 August to Thursday, 8 August.

September:

September also allows for lengthening a long weekend. Take leave on Monday the 23rd, following Heritage Day, to relish a relaxing five-day break of sunny skies and braais.

December:

The motherload of holiday hacking happens in December.

There are three public holidays on 16, 25 and 26 December. Take leave from the 13th through the 27th, and you’ll be off a whopping 16 straight days thanks to the four consecutive public holidays.

Alternatively, you can get 12 days off by booking off from Friday, 27 December to Friday, 3 January.

Happy holiday hacking!

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