For part time staff, what is their sick entitlement?
Personal leave forms part of the National Employment Standards (NES). As of 1 January 2010, the NES apply to all employees covered by the national workplace relations system, regardless of the applicable industrial instrument or contract of employment.
The term personal leave includes both sick and carers leave. Employees are entitled to take personal leave where they are not fit for work due to a personal illness or injury, or to provide care or support to a member of their immediate family, or a member of their household, who requires the employees care and support because of either a personal illness or injury affecting the immediate or household member or if they have experienced a sudden or unexpected emergency affecting the household or immediate family member.
Personal leave is a paid entitlement of 10 days per year. The entitlement to personal leave accrues progressively during the year and is dependent on the number of ordinary hours worked. A full time employee (working 38 hours per week) will receive the entitlement of 10 days over the course of one year of service. Part time employees receive this entitlement on a pro-rata basis which is dependent on their ordinary hours of work. Put simply, the ordinary hours of work are an employees normal and regular hours which don’t attract overtime rates. The concept of ‘ordinary hours of work’ is important in determining the personal leave entitlement for part time staff as it determines the rate at which the entitlement accrues and also the entitlement to payment when leave is taken. Therefore the entitlement to personal leave for part time staff will vary depending on the amount of hours worked.
The Direct Health Survey 2014 found that on average, a full time employee will take 9.5 days of personal leave each year. Further, it was found that short term absences where the most difficult for small and medium businesses to manage. It is therefore imperative for all businesses to ensure that they have a robust policy in place in regards to personal leave. Such policy should clearly outline when an employee can use their entitlement to personal leave. The process that should be followed and importantly whether or not employees are expected to present some form of documentary evidence to the Employer on their return from personal leave, for example a medical certificate.
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