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The ins and outs of paid personal leave

Leave entitlementsJune 28, 2016

The ins and outs of paid personal leave (Last Updated On: August 9, 2016)

As an employer, you may or may not be aware that employees need to meet certain requirements before they are entitled to take paid personal leave (PPL).

These requirements include providing a meaningful reason for the leave, along with sufficient notice and evidence of the requirement to take the leave. This type of leave can be taken by employees when they are not fit for work due to a personal illness or injury, or to care for an immediate family member.

Notice requirements

While there is no standard form of notice, or a legal requirement on how this notice is to take shape, every employee must inform their employer that PPL will be needed as soon as the intent is presented, highlighting an expected return to work date.

 Evidence requirements

Employees need to provide some form of reasonable evidence that the PPL was legitimately taken.

In a recent case heard by the Fair Work Commission, an employee underwent serious surgery and then, two weeks later, went on a camping holiday with his family. Approximately a month after the surgery, the employee had not returned to work, telling his employer he was still unfit to work.

As the employee did not provide evidence as required by the Fair Work Act (such as a medical certificate), the employer won their case due to the lack of evidence.

Top tips for managing paid personal leave

Personal leave can be a difficult thing to manage and employers must be cautious when challenging requests. Highlighted below are some useful tips to introduce into any workplace.

  1. Enforce that a suitable method of notice is provided when employees intend to take personal leave. This could be in writing or via a phone call to the employee’s line manager. Phone calls, at times, can help deter an illegitimate request
  2. Designate a person in the business to handle requests for personal leave. This would remove the problem where by employees say “but I told that person I was sick and they said that it was fine”
  3. Request all employees provide evidence of the need to take the personal leave. For example, have employees provide a medical certificate for each day of sick leave taken
  4.  Have a return-to-work plan for an employee who has been on personal leave that includes a catch up with the employee to ensure they are fit to return to work
  5. It is really important to implement a policy for personal leave, and ensure all employees are aware of the process involved. This policy needs to clearly outline all the requirements involved with taking personal leave

If you have any queries relating to the introduction of a personal leave policy, or if you are unsure how to manage a personal leave situation in your workplace, call Employsure today on 1300 651 415. As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist, we can assist with all employee management and work health and safety requirements, in line with legislation.

Author: Cameron Giles, Employment Relations Claims Adviser

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