Personal or carer’s leave (often referred to as ‘sick leave’) is an entitlement of all full-time and part-time employees. Like annual leave, personal or carer’s leave accrues based on an employee’s ordinary hours of work and commences accrual from day one.
A full-time employee accrues 10 days of paid personal or carer’s leave per year and a part-time employee accrues the pro rata equivalent. Like annual leave, when an employee is on paid personal or carer’s leave, they will continue to accrue leave. Personal or carer’s leave is generally not paid out on termination of employment, unless otherwise stated in the employee’s contract or Modern Award or Enterprise Agreement.
Personal or carer’s leave should be accessed when an employee is unfit for work due to a personal illness or injury or an employee is required to provide care or support to a member of the employee’s household or immediate family who is suffering an illness or injury, or because of an unexpected emergency.
Do casual employees get paid personal or carers leave?
Casual employees are not entitled to receive paid personal or carer’s leave, however, they are entitled to be absent from work for up to two days (unpaid) per occasion to provide care or support to a member of the employee’s household or immediate family who is suffering an illness or injury, or because of an unexpected emergency.
Can an employee swap out annual leave for personal or carer’s leave?
If an employee is on another period of paid leave (such as annual leave) they will have the opportunity to take that period as personal or carer’s leave instead of annual leave, provided they can satisfy the employer they would have been unfit for work in any event. This has been especially utilised during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing many employees to make up for annual leave lost due to COVID-related illnesses.
Managing personal or carer’s leave is one of the biggest challenges for employers. Strategies are vital to ensure this leave is not abused, particularly through a ‘culture of entitlement’ where employees take all or most of their sick leave to avoid losing it. Some suggestions include having a stringent policy and a culture of managers requesting a medical certificate (or other suitable evidence such as a statutory declaration).
Every manager has seen the employee who is partial to a “sickie” immediately before or after a public holiday or taking personal or carer’s leave after an annual leave request has been declined. Treating these issues as disciplinary matters where appropriate can be essential to properly manage your staff.
Have a question about personal or carer’s leave entitlements? Arrange a complimentary consultation with an expert today.