Bottles of Pepsi are pictured at a grocery store in Pasadena, California, U.S., July 11, 2017.
Bottles of Pepsi are pictured at a grocery store in Pasadena, California, U.S., July 11, 2017. Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

PepsiCo Inc has introduced a new concept in Australia and New Zealand that allows its employees to swap public holidays for days that are more significant to them. The multinational company calls this concept “floating cultural holidays.”

The floating cultural holidays concept was part of the company’s broader diversity and inclusion drive. It saw the company’s Australian arm honoured with a prestigious global award. It allows employees to swap the Australian public holiday system, which is based on a Christian Anglo-Saxon calendar, with the days that mean more to them, PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand HR Senior Director Shiona Watson explained to

“We have around 45 nationalities in our Australia and New Zealand business, it’s something that we’re increasingly recognising, celebrating and trying to find new ways of creating broader awareness of cultural differences,” she said, adding they allow their employees some flexibility.

There are some public holidays that are “non-negotiable,” though. These include Christmas, Easter, Anzac Day and Australia Day. “We’ve kept them for now,” she said. “As with every program we’ll stop and evaluate. We’ve just started with the Labour Day public holidays, Queen’s Birthday and sporting holidays [such as] Melbourne Cup.”

The holidays concept was introduced in mid-2017 for salaried employees. She further explained to Yahoo7 that the company allowed two days each year to be swapped. The policy is still an “open principle” and an “ongoing process,” and therefore may change depending on the feedback from the employees. At this stage, Watson said they are “getting good feedback” so there is no specific commitment to review it yet.

“It’s an initiative we felt identified local needs,” she said. “I’m not sure if our overseas offices are doing the same thing.”

Watson was one of the eight female employees and leaders from the local company who received the Harvey C. Russell Inclusion award at a ceremony in New York earlier this month. They were recognised for their efforts in increasing female representation, pay equity and flexibility.

Of PepsiCo’s 1,800 local employees, 40 percent are women. Watson said their goal was to have 50-50 ratio at middle management level and beyond by 2025.

“This isn’t about just focusing on hiring women, it’s about focusing on hiring the best possible talent within the market, but creating environments where everyone has the capacity [to succeed],” she told

PepsiCo, Inc. is a multinational food and beverage corporation with a headquarter in New York. The company’s most famous products include Pepsi, Lay’s potato chips, Gatorade and Tropicana beverages.