Updated National Employment Standards in Australia

August 15, 2020
3 mins read

The High Court of Australia recently decided how paid personal or carer’s leave is accrued and taken under the National Employment Standards (NES).

 

Main points:

  • All employees except casuals are entitled to paid sick and carer’s leave.
  • An employee’s entitlement to paid personal/carer’s leave accumulates progressively during a year of service, based on their ordinary hours of work.
  • The yearly entitlement is based on an employee’s ordinary hours of work and is 10 days for full-time employees, and pro-rata for part-time employees. This can be calculated as 1/26 of an employee’s ordinary hours of work in a year.
  • Personal/Carers leave accumulates from year to year.
  • Personal/Carer’s leave continues to accrue when an employee takes paid personal/ carer’s leave or paid annual leave. It will not accrue if an employee is on unpaid leave unless it is community service leave or provided for in an award or agreement.

 

When can an employee take paid sick leave?

An employee can take paid sick leave when they cannot work due to a personal illness or injury. This can include stress and pregnancy-related illnesses.

When can an employee take paid carer’s leave?

An employee can take paid carer’s leave to care for or support a member of their immediate family or household who is sick, injured, or has an emergency.

Who gets paid sick and carer’s leave?

All employees except casuals are entitled to paid sick and carer’s leave.

Employees may have to give notice or evidence to get paid for sick and carer’s leave. Please go to Notice and medical certificates for more information.

How much paid sick and carer’s leave does an employee get?

Sick and carer’s leave comes under the same leave entitlement. It’s also known as personal / carer’s leave.

The yearly entitlement is based on an employee’s ordinary work hours and is 10 days for full-time employees, and pro-rata for part-time employees. This can be calculated as 1/26 of an employee’s ordinary hours of work in a year.

The amount of paid sick and carer’s leave accumulated over a period isn’t affected by differences in the spread of an employee’s ordinary hours of work in a week.

A registered agreement, award, or contract can set out different entitlements to paid sick and carer’s leave, but they can’t be less than the minimum in the NES.

 

How does paid sick and carer’s leave accumulate? 

Full-time and part-time employees accumulate sick and carer’s leave during each year of employment. It starts accumulating from an employee’s first day of work and is based on their work hours.

The balance at the end of each year carries over to the next year.

Sick and carer’s leave accumulates when an employee is on:

  • paid leave such as annual leave and sick and carer’s leave
  • community service leave including jury duty
  • long service leave.

Sick and carer’s leave does not accumulate when the employee is on:

  • unpaid annual leave
  • unpaid sick or carer’s leave
  • unpaid parental leave
  • unpaid family and domestic violence leave.

 

For more information about how sick and carer’s leave accumulates, please read Paid annual leave & sick & carer’s leave – FAQs.

 

How much paid sick and carer’s leave can an employee take?

An employee can take as much paid sick or carer’s leave as they have accumulated. There is no minimum or maximum amount of paid sick or carer’s leave that can be taken at a time.

 

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