What are employees' leave entitlements? (updated July 2016)
All full-time employees are entitled to four weeks paid annual leave each year. Part-time employees accrue paid annual leave on a pro-rata (proportional) basis. The Pastoral Award 2010 (which covers dairy employees) provides for a 17.5% annual leave loading to be paid to award employees when taking annual leave and upon termination if any annual leave is paid out.
Leave loading is a payment of 17.5% in addition to the base rate of pay to compensate employees for the loss of overtime pay while they are on annual leave.
Casual employees are not entitled to annual leave as the casual loading is calculated to include a component to compensate them for loss of annual leave entitlements.
Can employees cash out their annual leave? (updated July 2016)
As of 29 July 2016, employers and employees covered by the Pastoral Award 2010 can agree in writing to cash out annual leave. Each agreement to cash out annual leave must be in writing and the payment must be for the full amount that the employee would have been paid if the employee had taken the leave. A separate agreement is required each time annual leave is cashed out.
Employees who are not covered by an award or agreement (such as managers) may agree in writing with their employer to cash out annual leave.
Read more about cashing out annual leave (inc. templates)
Can an employee request annual leave at the busiest time of year?
The guide for this is contained in the National Employment Standards at clause 88:
"Taking paid annual leave:
- Paid annual leave may be taken at times agreed between an employee and his or her employer.
- The employer must not unreasonably refuse to agree to a request by the employee to take paid annual leave."
Can I make an employee take leave?
The Pastoral Award 2010 allows for employers to direct employees who have at least eight weeks accrued annual leave to take ¼ or less of their accrued annual leave. Before requiring the employee to take annual leave the employer must have genuinely tried to reach agreement about the taking of the leave and must give the employee at least four weeks’ notice of the requirement to take the annual leave.
For award/agreement free employees the requirement to take accrued annual leave must be reasonable, for instance the employee must have accrued a large amount of annual leave.
How much sick leave do I have to pay?
Sick leave is now called personal/carer's leave. Under the National Employment Standards, full-time employees (other than casuals) are entitled to 10 days paid personal/carer’s leave for each year of service, two days unpaid carer's leave as required, and two days compassionate leave (unpaid for casuals) as required..
Personal/carer’s leave accrues on the basis of the employee’s ordinary hours of work progressively throughout the year and from year to year and there is no cap on how much of this leave can be used for carer’s leave. Personal leave can be taken if the employee is not fit for work due to personal illness or injury, and generally a doctor’s certificate should be provided.
Carer’s leave can be taken to provide care or support for a member of the employee’s household or immediate family due to personal illness or injury or an unexpected emergency. Payment for personal/carer’s leave is at the employee’s base rate of pay for ordinary hours of work. Unpaid carer’s leave may also be taken if personal leave has been used up.
Which leave gets paid out on termination?
Accrued annual leave must be paid out on termination. You don’t have to pay out accrued personal/carer’s leave. Long service leave may have to be paid out on termination (see below).
What are the other leave entitlements?
Long service leave
The long service leave laws vary from state to state. For more information about long service leave, you can contact your local state long service leave department.
- Parental and adoption leave of 12 months (unpaid), with a right to request an additional 12 months.
- Community service leave, for activities dealing with certain emergencies or natural disasters.
Best practice tip
Maintaining employee leave records can take up a lot of time. If you employ a number of staff, talk to your accountant or bookkeeper about investing in a computerised accounts package such as MYOB or Quickbooks.
Resources, support material and updates
The ESKi is designed to get you started and is integrated with the resources across this website. The documents and links below will help you with this topic. We've included word templates you can download and customise for your farm, including your business name, logo, etc. and PDFs you can print and write on.
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- Do you have processes in place for employees to apply for annual, personal, carer's, parental, community service and long service leave?
- Do you maintain accurate records of employee leave entitlements?
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