All permanent employees, whether part time or full time, are entitled to sick leave, also known as personal/carer’s leave. Personal/carer’s leave covers leave for both personal sickness and carer’s leave. Permanent employees are entitled to 10 days of paid personal leave per year. An employee that is employed on a part time basis is entitled to the pro rata amount based on the number of hours that they work. For example, a full time employee is entitled to 76 hours of personal/carer’s leave per year, so if an employee works 20 hours per week, they would get 40 hours of personal/carer’s leave per year.
Taking sick leave
Sick leave can be taken when the employee is ill or injured themselves and is unable to perform their normal duties. An employer may require an employee to provide a doctor’s certificate for the absence, but this should be stated in a Leave Policy.
An employee can take leave to care for an immediate family member or household member who is ill or injured. The leave can be taken if the person is ill, injured or has incurred an unexpected emergency. An immediate family member is defined in the Fair Work Act as a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee’s spouse or de facto partner. A household member is any person who lives with the employee.
Once an employee has used all of their paid personal/carer’s leave their entitlement becomes unpaid leave when they are unwell or need to care for another person. Unpaid leave is just that, unpaid and paid leave usually doesn’t accrue when they are on unpaid leave.
If an employee uses all of the paid personal/carer’s leave, you can offer the option to take annual leave, but it’s not an automatic payment.
Casual employees don’t get paid personal/carer’s leave but they do have an entitlement to unpaid personal/carer’s leave.
Accrual of Personal/Carer’s Leave
Sick leave accrues continuously for the duration of employment. It rolls over from year to year and doesn’t expire. It’s very rarely paid out on termination of employment, if ever.
How much personal/carer’s leave can an employee take?
Generally, there is no minimum or maximum amount of sick leave that an employee can take on any one occasion, but whether an employee is entitled to be paid for the leave will depend on what paid leave is available. A business can request that a doctor’s certificate is provided, and this should be stated in a Leave Policy.
Personal/Carer’s Leave balances
Although there’s no obligation for an employer to provide personal/carer’s leave balances on an employee’s payslip, the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website states that ‘while it is best practice to show employee’s leave balances on their payslip, it’s not a requirement. Employees do need to be told their leave balances if they ask for it.’
So, it’s up to a business to decide whether this information is shown on the payslip, but you can’t decline a request from an employee if they ask about their balance.
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