According to the National Employment Standards (NES), all employees working under the national system are entitled to personal leave.
Employees who are unable to work due to illness or injury (“sick leave”) or who need to provide care for a member of their immediate family or household who is unwell or injured (“carer’s leave”) are eligible for personal leave.
The NES’s personal leave rules should be compared to any personal leave provisions in an applicable Award or employment contract if those provisions are more advantageous.
Accrual of Personal (Sick & Carers) Leave
Every full-time employee is entitled to two weeks’ worth (or ten working days) of paid personal leave per year. Part-time workers are qualified for paid personal leave that has accrued on a pro-rata basis. Casual workers and full-time and part-time employees who have used all their accrued paid personal leave are also eligible for unpaid absence.
In line with any leave policies or other mutually agreed-upon conditions that may apply in the workplace, any employee who is unable to work due to personal or caregiving leave must notify his or her employer.
An employee is entitled to paid personal/leave carer’s if the leave is taken for one of the following reasons: the employee is unable to work due to a personal illness or injury; the employee is providing care or support to a member of their household or immediate family who needs it due to a personal illness or injury; or the member is experiencing an unexpected emergency.
The employer has the authority, in accordance with the Fair Work Act, to request documentation for any absence from work taken as a result of this entitlement if they feel it appropriate.
When asked by the employer, the employee must provide documentation that would persuade a reasonable person that the leave was taken for the specified cause. A medical certificate or statutory statement are examples of the evidence that is frequently required.
Definition of Immediate Family Member
A member of the employee’s immediate family or a resident of the employee’s home is covered under the right to caregiver’s leave.
According to Section 12 of the Fair Work Act, “immediate family” refers to the employee’s spouse, de facto partner, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, or siblings as well as the children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, or siblings of the employee’s spouse or de facto partner.
The term “de-facto partner” refers to a person who, albeit not legally wed to the employee, maintains a true domestic partnership with the employee (whether of the same sex or different sexes), and includes the employee’s former de-facto partner.
Cashing Out Personal (Sick & Carers) Leave
In accordance with the conditions of an Award or Enterprise Agreement, paid personal leave may only be cashed out, according to the Fair Work Act. No cashing out is allowed if the Award or Enterprise Agreement are silent on this subject.
Personal (Sick & Carers) Leave On Termination
Upon leaving a job, accumulated but unused personal leave is not reimbursed.
How HR Connect can help
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The information provided in these knowledge base articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact HR Connect for advice. The information in this summary is correct as of August 2021.
This knowledge base article will change over time, as Modern Award legislation relating to this Industry or Occupation is passed by the Fair Work Commission. Originally published on 21 September 2021 and last updated on 18 February 2022.