The Full Federal Court of Australia handed down a decision on 21 August 2019 that dealt with the accumulation of Personal/Carer’s leave (also known as Sick Leave). Full-time and part-time employees are now eligible for 10 working days of paid Personal/Carer’s leave for each year of service. This means that the annual amount of Personal/Carer’s leave received by part-time employees is no longer pro-rated based on ordinary hours worked.
Key points to remember
Full-time and part-time employees are eligible for 10 working days of paid Personal/Carer’s leave for each year of service. Casual employees remain ineligible.
A working day has been determined to mean the period of time in a 24-hour period that is allotted to work. Practically, if a part-time employee works one day per week for 12 hours in a shift, they would be eligible for Personal/Carer’s leave equal to 10 days’ worth of 12 hours.
An employee’s Personal/Carer’s leave balance still carries over from year to year and is not paid out upon termination (unless a registered agreement or award stipulates otherwise).
The Federal Court did not address the accrual of annual leave in their decision or reasoning – no action is required with respect to annual leave.
What should your business do now?
The Australian Government and the Applicant in the case, Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd, have been granted leave from the High Court of Australia to appeal the Federal Court’s decision. Until the case is heard by the High Court and a decision is handed down, the Federal Court’s decision reflects the current state of the law on this issue.
Your business should review its payroll system to ensure Personal/Carer’s leave is being accrued in days, not hours.
If you need assistance navigating how this impacts your business, we can help you.