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Understanding personal leave

Understanding personal leave

What can I use personal leave for?

You can take personal leave:

  • if you are not fit for work because of a personal illness or personal injury
  • to provide care and support to a member of your immediate family, or a member of your household, who requires care or support because of a personal illness or personal injury
  • if an unexpected emergency affects you.

How much personal leave am I entitled to?

The personal leave entitlements below are for full-time employees. If you are permanent part-time your personal leave will accrue on a pro-rata basis according to hours worked.

Personal leave entitlements for the majority of nursing, midwifery and personal care staff are covered by enterprise agreements and accrue on the following basis:

  • First year of service – 91.2 hours/year (12 days*)
  • Second, third and fourth years of service – 106.4 hours /year (14 days*)
  • Fifth year and thereafter

– 152 hours (20 days*) for those employed within the public sector

– 159.6 ours (21 days*) majority of enterprise agreements^

For those nurses employed on under the Nurses Award 2010 you are entitled to 10 days personal leave per year

  • The following table reflects the personal leave accrual rates/hour
Year of service Annual entitlement Accrual rate/hour
First year 91.2 hours (12 days*) 0.04615 hour/each hour worked
Second, third and fourth year 106.4 hours (14 days*) 0.05384 hour/each hour worked
Fifth year (public sector) 152 hours (20 days*) 0.0769 hour/each hour worked
Fifth year (private and aged care^) 159.6 hours (21 days*) 0.08076 hour/each hour worked
Nurses Award 2010 10 days/year 0.03846 hour/each hour worked

*Days are based on an average shift length of 7.6 hours – however you are entitled to a minimum of 10 days per year regardless of your normal shift length.

^If you are employed in private or aged care please check your agreement

What happens if I do not use my personal leave?

Your unused personal leave will accumulate from year to year.

What leave can I take if I need to take care of someone who is ill?

You are entitled to take personal leave for the purpose of caring for immediate family or members of your household. This leave is deducted from your accrued personal leave.

The Fair Work Act 2009 s. 12 and 97 provides the following definition of immediate family/household member:

Immediate family includes a spouse (including a former spouse, a de facto spouse and a former de facto spouse) child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee or of the employee’s spouse.  This definition includes step-relationships (e.g. step-parents and step-children) as well as adoptive relations. A household member is any person who lives with you.

Am I obliged to give notice before taking personal leave?

While a number of enterprise agreements have a requirement in regard to notification prior to the shift commencing, the national Employment Standards state that notice must be given to the employer as soon as practicable (which may be a time after the leave has started). This allows for situations where prior notice may not be possible.

Do I have to give my employer a medical certificate if I take personal leave?

Sick leave – Most enterprise agreements allow staff to be absent due to illness for one day without a medical certificate on three separate occasions in each year of employment. For further sick leave days a medical certificate or statutory declaration must be provided to your employer. Most agreements restrict the use of statutory declarations to three occasions per year for a maximum of three consecutive days each time.

Carer’s leave – You must establish by production of a statutory declaration or other evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person, that a member of your immediate family or household has an illness or injury or an unexpected emergency that requires their care or support. In the case of an unexpected emergency you must identify the nature of the emergency.

I was off work sick on a public holiday and the hours have been deducted from my personal leave. Is this correct?

No this is incorrect. The National Employment Standards require an employer to pay the day as a public holiday, not as personal leave and not deduct hours from your accrued personal leave.