1-    Annual leave

Under the National Employment Standards (NES) all employees other than casual employees are entitled to 4 weeks leave each year.  Some shift workers are entitled to five weeks leave.  In some workplaces employees sacrifice a portion of their pay for longer periods of leave or apply for unpaid leave. Annual leave does not have to be taken in a 12 month period, as it will just accumulate.  Part-time employees get a pro rata proportion of this annual provision depending on how much they work. Paid annual leave may be taken at a time agreed between you and your employee. However, the employer must not unreasonably refuse an employee’s request to take paid annual leave. In assessing reasonableness, the following factors are relevant according to the Fair Work Ombudsman:

  • the needs of the employee and the employer’s business;
  • any agreed arrangement with the employee;
  • custom and practice of the business;
  • timing of the direction or requirement to take leave; and
  • reasonableness of the period of notice given.

It is also important to take note of what the relevant award or agreement says about annual leave as it may have specific conditions which need to be followed. Now lets examine the other types of Employee leave.

2-    Parental leave

All Australian employees are eligible for unpaid parental leave after working with an employer for 12 months. Employees may also be entitled to paid parental leave on top of their unpaid leave entitlements. However, this is generally paid for by the Government, unless a person’s employer has a parent leave policy that provides better benefits or the parent is not eligible for the Government scheme.  The Government scheme changes so you should check the latest scheme to see whether it applies to you.

3-    Personal/carer’s leave & Compassionate leave

Full-time, non-casual workers are allowed ten days paid personal/carer’s leave each year. Part-time employees get a proportion of this depending on how much they work. An employee may take paid personal/carer’s leave:

  • if they are unfit for work because of their own personal illness or injury (including pregnancy-related illness); or
  • to provide care or support to a member of their immediate family or household, because of a personal illness, injury or unexpected emergency affecting the member. A member of the employee’s immediate family means a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of an employee.

Workers are also allowed two days paid compassionate leave for each permissible occasion when a member of the employee’s immediate family or household sustains a serious illness, serious injury or dies. Workers are also entitled to two days of compassionate leave to spend time with a member of their immediate family or household who has sustained a life-threatening illness or injury. Compassionate leave may also be taken after the death of a member of the employee’s immediate family or household.

4-    Community service leave

The right to community service leave is for eligible community service activities including jury service or activities dealing with an emergency or natural disaster.

5-    Long service leave

Long service leave is generally governed by state and territory laws.  It can generally be taken after 10 years continuous service, cannot be cashed out (except on termination) and is generally paid at the employee’s ordinary rate of pay.


If you’re in need of a review of your employment contract, contact LegalVision today to speak with one of our experienced employment solicitors.

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