During the current pandemic it is important to be aware of the different types of leave  your employees are entitled to when they are either personally ill, caring for a relevant person who is ill or worse, if they need to care for a person close to death or to attend a funeral.

Personal/Carers leave, as it is appropriately named, is for either a personal illness or to care for an immediate member of their household, which is broadly defined by the Fair Work Ombudsman as any “person who lives under the same roof”. This includes, but is not limited to, stepchildren, siblings, a partner or a former partner and grandparents.

A  full-time or part-time employee is currently entitled to 10 days paid Personal/Carers leave per year paid at their base rate of pay. Any Personal/Carers leave not taken accrues continuously and is added to the following years Personal/Carers leave.

As an example, an employee takes three days Personal/Carers Leave in a year. The remaining seven are added to the following year’s leave giving the employee an accrual of 17 days Personal/Carers leave. The accrual continues for their employment period, however, under the Meat Industry Award there is no obligation for the accrued leave to be paid out on termination of employment.

It is important to note that Personal/Carers leave is calculated in hours not days. This means that when an employee is off work ill they must be paid Personal/Carers leave equivalent to the length of the shift they would have worked had they not been ill. (This issue is currently being determined in a case before the High Court of Australia).

Note: Personal/Carers leave does not accrue during periods of unpaid leave and that casuals are entitled to two days unpaid Carers Leave.

Compassionate Leave

Both full-time and part-time employees are entitled to two days paid Compassionate Leave on each eligible occasion. It may be taken together, as two separate days or any period agreed to between yourself and your employee.

Compassionate Leave may be taken when a member of the employee’s immediate family or household suffers a life-threatening illness or injury and/or has died.

Casuals are not entitled to be paid.

If you have any question or need clarification on any types of leave please email Steve Caslick at [email protected]