Call us 1300 651 415
MyEmploysure

Employee leave entitlements – who gets what and when can they take it?

Leave entitlementsAugust 1, 2016

Employee leave entitlements – who gets what and when can they take it? (Last Updated On: November 2, 2016)

Navigating the leave entitlement landscape can be challenging for employers. Our Advice team receive a lot of queries related to the various types of leave. To assist, we have provided a simplified overview of which employees are entitled to what leave and some common questions we get. In addition, be sure to test your knowledge with our quiz, based on real scenarios.

The information below is based on standard entitlements, but it is always important to check the applicable Award, enterprise agreement or contract in case these provide for greater entitlements.

Annual leave.

Who and how much?
All employees, other than casual employees, are entitled to four weeks of annual leave per year, or five weeks per year if they are a ‘shiftworker’ (as defined in the applicable Modern Award or Fair Work Act).

When can they take it?
Annual leave must be taken at a time agreed by both the employer and the employee. An employer must not unreasonably refuse a request for annual leave.

Does this type of leave accrue and do you have to pay it out on termination?
An employee’s entitlement to annual leave accrues progressively throughout the year, and any accrued leave which has not been taken must be paid to the employee on termination, regardless of whether the termination was initiated by the employer or the employee.

How much does an employer pay?
The employee must be paid at least their base rate of pay for their ordinary hours during a period of annual leave, unless their Award, enterprise agreement or contract provides a greater entitlement.

Personal/carer’s leave (often referred to as sick leave).

Who and how much?
All employees, other than casual employees, are entitled to ten days of paid personal/carer’s leave (on a pro-rata basis for part-time employees) per year of service with their employer.

When can they take it?
An employee is entitled to take personal/carer’s leave when they are not fit for work due to a personal illness or injury, or where they need to provide care or support to a member of their immediate family or household (eg child, sister, parent).

Does this type of leave accrue and do you have to pay it out on termination?
An employee’s entitlement to personal/carer’s leave accrues progressively throughout the year according to their ordinary hours of work. Employees are not entitled to have accrued personal leave paid out on termination, unless they are entitled from their contract or Award. This type of leave accumulates from year to year.

How much does an employer pay?
An employee must be paid at least their base rate of pay for their ordinary hours of work whilst on personal/career’s leave, unless their Award, enterprise agreement or contract provides a greater entitlement.

Compassionate leave.

Who and how much?
All employees, including casual employees, are entitled to compassionate leave. However, only permanent employees are entitled to be paid for this leave. Casual employees are entitled to unpaid compassionate leave. The entitlement for all employees is two days per occasion.

When can they take it?
An employee is entitled to take compassionate leave when a family member of their immediate family or household suffers an illness or injury that threatens their life or dies.

Does this type of leave accrue and do you have to pay it out on termination?
No, as it is occasion-based leave. Employees are not entitled to have any compassionate leave paid out on termination.

How much does an employer pay?
Permanent employees must be paid at least their base rate of pay for the ordinary hours they would have worked had they not been on compassionate leave.

Community service leave.

Who and how much?
All employees, including casual employees, are entitled to unpaid community service leave.

There is no limit to the amount of community service leave an employee can take, provided it meets the definition of an eligible community service activity, and that it is reasonable in all the circumstances (except in the case of jury service leave, which is always taken to be reasonable).

When can they take it?
An employee is entitled to be absent from their employment for a period if they are engaging in an eligible community service activity, for example the State Emergency Service, the Country Fire Authority or while on jury service. Employees are also entitled to leave for the reasonable travelling time associated with the community service activity and reasonable rest and recovery time.

Does this type of leave accrue and do you have to pay it out on termination?
No, as it is based on occasions of community service. Community service leave is not paid out on termination.

How much does an employer pay?
The only paid form of community service leave is for permanent employees who perform jury service, where there is the provision to ‘top up’ their pay for generally up to ten days.

Parental leave.

Who and how much?
All employees, other than casual employees, are entitled to parental leave once they have completed at least 12 months of continuous service with the employer, immediately prior to the expected date of birth of the child, or in the case of adoption, the expected date of placement of the child.

The entitlement for eligible employees is 12 months of unpaid parental leave, with the ability, in some circumstances to request a further 12 months.

When can they take it?
Unpaid parental leave must start either on the birth of the child or up to six weeks prior to the expected birth. The employer and employee can agree on the employee taking parental leave earlier.

What if an employee has another child?
Employees who have already taken parental leave do not have to work another 12 months before taking another period of parental leave with the same employer.

How much does an employer pay?
Generally parental leave is unpaid, unless a contract or policy term states otherwise. Employees may be entitled to government funded paid leave entitlements.

Long service leave.

Each state has retained their own long service leave (LSL) arrangements, however, most provide a similar entitlement to leave after ten years of continuous service with the same employer. Each state is slightly different with regard to how much leave can be taken, and the length of service required for LSL to be paid out on termination.

Regular and systematic casuals – a watch out.
Employers need to beware that if a casual employee becomes ‘regular and systematic’, they can be entitled to more benefits than those of true casuals, including unpaid parental leave and the right to bring an unfair dismissal claim.

Understanding the different types of leave and the associated entitlements with each type of employee can be tricky. Employsure Advisers are available to assist with any questions you have regarding leave and any other employee entitlements. Call us today on 1300 651 415.

Related Posts