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There are numerous types of leave available to employees across all businesses. However, as an employer, you must inform your employees of all their leave entitlements. The National Employment Standards (NES) outline the minimum standards for employee leave entitlements, although employment agreements might provide additional leave entitlements.

This article will explain six different types of leave.

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1. Parental Leave

All Australian employees (except for casual employees) may take parental leave. Parental leave includes:

  • maternity and paternity leave; 
  • adoption leave; and 
  • special maternity leave. 

Employees may use their parental leave after they work for an employer for 12 months. Furthermore, parental leave is usually unpaid. However, the employee may be eligible for government-funded leave entitlements with pay.

Employees are usually eligible for parental leave for 12 months, although they may ask to extend this. Parental leave may start at the child’s birth or several weeks before.

2. Annual Leave

Like parental leave, all employees (excluding casual employees) may take up to four weeks of annual leave each year. Annual leave accrues throughout the year, with part-time employees accruing their annual leave pro-rata.

Usually, employees will take their annual leave during a period they agree on with their employer. However, an employer should not refuse a request for annual leave without cause.

Annual leave is paid leave and must occur at the employee’s base pay rate for ordinary hours. However, a relevant award or enterprise agreement might provide further requirements for annual leave, which the employer must consider. 

You must also note what the relevant award or agreement says about annual leave, as these may outline specific conditions that the employer and employee must follow.

3. Carer’s Leave

Carer’s leave (also personal leave or sick leave) enables employees to take time off work to care for someone if they are sick or in need of care. This includes taking time off if they are unfit for work due to illness or injury or if an immediate family member or household member needs care.

Permanent full-time and part-time workers may take carer’s leave. Those entitled to carer’s leave get a minimum of ten days of paid carer’s leave per year. For part-time employees, this pay will accrue pro-rata.

All employees may take a minimum of two days of unpaid carer’s leave, including casual employees. However, it is up to the employer to grant additional unpaid carer’s leave.

4. Compassionate Leave

All employees may take two days of compassionate leave. This includes casual employees, who can take compassionate leave without pay. However, permanent employees may take compassionate leave with pay.

Compassionate leave is available to employers when an immediate family member or household member dies or suffers a life-threatening illness or injury.

Employers must pay their permanent employees at least the base pay rate for the ordinary hours they would ordinarily work during this period.

5. Long Service Leave

Long service leave is a leave employees may take after ten years of continuous service with their employer. Each state and territory has slightly different variations regarding how long service leave accumulates and how much leave employees can take. 

For example, employees in New South Wales who work with the same employer for ten years can take just over two months of paid leave. 

Employers must pay long service leave in line with at least the base pay rate for the ordinary hours the employee would work during this time.

6. Community Service Leave

Finally, all employees are entitled to unpaid community service leave, including casual workers.

There is no specific limit to how many days of community service leave an employee can take. However, the activity the employee undertakes must be eligible for community service. For instance, this could be participating in the State Emergency Fire Service. Additionally, the leave request must not be unreasonable. 

Further, jury duty is the only type of community service leave that an employee may receive pay for. Those serving jury duty will receive a small amount, and their employer must also top up their pay in line with their ordinary base rate.

In Victoria, The Juries Act 2000 requires employers to pay the difference between the amount an employee receives for jury service and the amount the employee could reasonably expect to receive if they had not attended jury service.

Key Takeaways

There are various types of leave available to employees in all businesses, each with its purpose. Some types of leave available include:

  • annual leave;
  • carer’s leave;
  • compassionate leave;
  • long service leave; and
  • community service leave.

If you need assistance understanding your employees’ leave entitlements, your experienced employment lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. You will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents for a low monthly fee. Call us today on 1300 544 755 or visit our membership page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are leave entitlements? 

There are various types of leave that employees are entitled to in all businesses. The National Employment Standards (NES) outline the minimum standards for employee leave entitlements, although some employment agreements might provide additional leave entitlements.

What are the different types of leave?

There are numerous types of leave available to employees in all businesses, each with its own purpose. Some types of leave available include annual, carer’s, compassionate, long service and compassionate.

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