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The Melbourne Cup Should Be A National Public Holiday

At 3pm on Tuesday, most workplaces across Australia ceased to be productive as all eyes turned to The Melbourne Cup... so should it be made official with a national public holiday?

The Melbourne Cup has been a public holiday in Melbourne for more than 140 years with the entire Victorian State now in on the day off.

Meanwhile, the rest of the nation takes an unofficial break that costs the country around $1 billion in lost productivity according to HR firm Randstad's survey.

Image: Getty

It's no wonder then that the question arises of whether a national public holiday would be in the best interest for the economy (and employees of course).

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Ah, a nice civilised day at the races.

Indeed big names have called for the new holiday to happen including Lloyd Williams, who lays claim to half a dozen Cup winners.

There have even been suggestions of losing a current public holiday, like the Queen's Birthday or Labor Day, to include a Melbourne Cup Day in the calendar.

One survey found 10 percent of Aussies would 'chuck a sickie' for the Melbourne Cup. Image: Getty

The benefits of this November public holiday could include seeing an economic boost with an increase in interstate travellers heading to Melbourne for the cup on top of the 73,000 or so who do anyway.

However, when asked if Queensland would be on board with an additional day off, a spokesperson from the Office of Industrial Relations said there are other costs to consider.

"If a public holiday is declared, employees who work that day are entitled to extra penalty rates depending on their award of agreement," they told 10 daily.

Image: Getty

Employers also face the challenge of a high rate of absenteeism aka "sickies" the following day.

A survey of more than 2,000 Australians by Clipp.com found 10 percent will 'chuck a sickie'.

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The weather should be fine, but the Flemington track will definitely be rain-affected for the Melbourne Cup.

Despite the loss in productivity from the afternoon of bludging, a new public holiday isn't a cheap alternative.

Victoria conducted an evaluation into a new Grand Final Holiday which found it could cost the state up to $900 million in lost production.

Multiply that by every state and territory in Australia and there would need to be some serious spending to even it out.

Image: Getty

Like the race itself, the question of a national public holiday is a matter of statistics, timing and perhaps even a little bit of luck.

Is it possible though? Watch the video at the top of the article to find out.