Sick leave is now known as personal/carer’s leave. Like annual leave, personal/carer’s leave accrues based on an employee’s ordinary hours of work and commences accrual from day one.

An employee accrues 10 days of paid personal/carer’s leave per year. Like annual leave, when an employee is on paid personal/carer’s leave they will continue to accrue leave. Personal/carer’s leave is generally not paid out on termination of employment. However you must confirm this with an employee’s contract or Modern Award/Enterprise Agreement.

Personal/carer’s leave should be accessed when an employee is unfit for work due to an 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. Casual employees are not entitled to be paid personal/carer’s leave, however, they are entitled to be absent from work for up to two days (unpaid) to perform caring responsibilities.

If an employee is on another period of paid leave (such as annual leave) they will have the opportunity to convert that annual leave to personal/carer’s leave provided they can satisfy to the employer they would have been unfit for work in any event.

Managing personal/carer’s leave is one of the biggest challenges for employers. Strategies are vital to ensure this leave is not abused. Some suggestions include having a stringent policy and a culture of mangers 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/carer’s leave after an annual leave request has been declined. Treating these issues as disciplinary ones is essential in order to properly manage your staff.