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Do Part-Time Staff Get Paid Sick Leave?

Published January 13, 2020 (last updated June 17, 2020) Author: Employsure
part time employee taking sick leave

In August 2019, the Federal Court found in favour of workers at a Cadbury factory who were arguing that as they regularly worked 12-hour shifts they should receive 12 hours of pay for ever sick day taken, instead of the 7.6 hours of personal leave they were being paid by their employer.

Despite the case being appealed to the High Court, for the time being you must implement the changes stemming from the Federal Court’s ruling.

The following information regarding Personal/Carer’s Leave is accurate as of 20 December 2019

Are part time employees entitled to sick leave?

This information is only relevant to businesses covered by the Fair Work Act 2009.

As a business owner, employing part-time employees can make great business sense. It allows you to use highly experienced people without the expense of a full-time staff member, as well as increases your ability to respond to peaks in demand.

But as handy as they are as a solution to staffing issues, are part-time employees also entitled to sick leave? And if so, is it at the same rate as full-time employees, or paid on a pro rata basis?

Do part-time employees get paid sick leave?

Under the National Employment Standards (NES), permanent employees are entitled to 10 days’ of paid sick leave per year.  However, the payment when sick leave is taken is different for part time vs full time employees.

For instance;

  • a part time employee who regularly works 12 hours per week in 4-hour shifts spread across 3 days is considered to have a working day of 4 hours. When this employee takes a full sick day, one day is deducted from their sick leave bank (provided they have accrued this amount) and they are paid 4 hours for that day.
  • a part time employee who work 36 hours per week in three 12-hour shifts is entitled to 12 ordinary hours per day. When this employee takes a full sick day, one day is deducted from their sick leave bank (provided they have accrued this amount) and they are paid 12 hours for that day.

How to calculate sick leave for part-time employees.

The amount of sick leave will be calculated on the basis of an accrued annual entitlement and part-time employees will receive an amount pro-rata to the entitlement of your full-time employees. For example, a full-time worker working five days a week may receive 10 days of sick leave in a year. Therefore, a part time worker working an average of two and a half days a week would then receive five days of sick leave.

The leave year starts on each employee’s start date, with their entitlement accruing from there and rolls over year to year.  In other words, the balance at the end of each year carries over to the next year. However, employees are not entitled to have accrued personal leave paid out on termination, unless it is specified in their contract of employment, Award or Enterprise Agreement.

Remember, if an employee is entitled to sick leave, they 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.

Does Your Employee Keep Calling In Sick?

Get tips on how to handle employees calling in sick unnecessarily.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What qualifies as a sick day?

    Any day (or part day) where the employee cannot work because of personal illness or injury. This can include stress and pregnancy related illnesses. These days can also be used when an immediate family member (as defined by the Fair Work Act) or member of the employee’s household is ill or injured and requires care.

  • How many paid sick days to part-time employees get?

    10 paid sick days but when the leave is taken, the employee is only paid in sick leave, the hours they would have ordinarily worked on that day. (i.e.: 12 hours worked across 3 shifts equals a normal working day of 4 hours, so 10 paid sick days per year = 40 hours of paid sick leave each year to be paid as a day or portion of a day when the leave is taken.)

  • How many sick days do full-time employees get a year?

    Full-time employees also get 10 paid sick days a year.

  • Does sick leave accrue for part-time employees?

    Yes. Just like for a full-time employee, a part-time employee’s sick leave entitlement accumulates over the course of a year, calculated from the employee’s first day of work. This accumulation continues, even when the employee is on paid annual leave (but not unpaid leave). The balance at the end of each year carries over to the next.

  • Can an employer refuse to pay sick pay?

    Under certain circumstances: yes. For instance, as an employer you are entitled to ask an employee to show evidence, such as a medical certificate, to prove that they were actually sick on the day in question. If the employee cannot provide that, then they may not be entitled to be paid for their sick leave, depending on your policies, contracts, an Award or Registered Agreement and how the business has dealt with this scenario before.

About Employsure.

Employsure is Australia’s largest workplace relations specialists. We take the complexity out of workplace laws to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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