Managing leave is a large day-to-day responsibility of an employer. Ensuring accurate records are kept and employees are accessing leave for the right purposes is challenging but essential to running a business.

Mishandling of leave can lead to a range of consequences. From an informal dispute between the employee and the employer to the organisation potentially being found liable for breaching the National Employment Standards (NES) found in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), resulting in a civil penalty. Other civil penalty risks will also be enlivened if an employer breaches a term of an employee’s industrial instrument (Enterprise Agreement or Modern Award) that applies to them. An employer may also be exposed to risks under the Fair Work Regulations 2009 for failing to keep accurate records or provide compliant payslips.

Managers are faced with many questions relevant to leave. Besides knowing the kinds of leave an employee can access, it can be difficult to evaluate and manage how the types of leave should be used.

Employers need to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to ensure leave operates smoothly. Knowing how to accrue and record leave, how an employee needs to be paid when they access leave and what to do with accrued leave a the end of employment is critical.

Types of leave:

There are 6 main types of leave requests to be aware of:

  1. Annual leave
  2. Personal/carer’s leave (sick leave)
  3. Compassionate leave (bereavement leave)
  4. Parental leave
  5. Community service leave (including jury service leave); and
  6. Long service leave

Who is entitled to this leave and when it can be used differs depending on the employee and their relevant industrial instrument.