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Caring for immediate family is not reason for imminent dismissal!

Published October 29, 2014 Author: servian

A father of 5 children has been unfairly dismissed when fathering his children whilst his wife recovered from an emergency caesarean operation. After his wife gave birth prematurely and with complications the man was left solely to take care of his 4 other children, three of which were pre-schoolers.

Carers leave is granted to employees when they are required to provide care for immediate family members who are dependent on them. In this case the employee had no other alternative but to care for his children in the family crisis. His employers the Trustee for The MTGI Trust T/A Macquarie Technology Group (MTG) agreed to a period of carer’s leave from November 11 last year until January 3. On December 12, after one month on unpaid carers leave the father provided MTG with a letter from the hospital, ‘backing his request to take his annual leave as personal leave from early January, as it was expected his wife was to remain in hospital until the end of January. The employee did not receive a response from MTG.

Later the father received an email from the CEO of MTG saying he assumed the employee’s leave would come to an end on January 3, even though he had written to them explaining he wished to take annual leave to compensate the additional carers leave.

The employer emailed him, congratulating him on the birth and raising issues about his work performance which the father found “particularly offensive”. He returned to work on the 16th of January and queried his amount of remuneration he had received for the pay period. The CEO responded in an email detailing that he abandoned the father’s employment when he failed to resume work on January 3 and that he wasn’t entitled to carer’s leave.

MTG was found to be in the wrong and had unfairly dismissed the employee because they never told the father that they had denied his request for leave, MTG did not have a sound, defensible or well-founded reason for terminating the employee’s contract and there was no proper investigation into the employees “performance issues”.

MTG was ordered to pay the father 20 weeks compensation.

If you would like to implement carers leave policies in your business, or if you need advice regarding personal leave or carers leave contact Employsure on 1300 651 415 or fill in the form below. Employsure can answer your questions at any time and give employers piece of mind and the confidence when understanding employee leave entitlements and remuneration in time of employee crisis.

*Information sourced via Workplace Express website.

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