September 2, 2019

Breaking News: Clarification of Personal & Carers Leave Entitlements

On 21 August 2019, the Full Federal Court of Australia handed down a decision in Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd v AMWU [2019] FCAFC 138 – a decision that has far-reaching implications for all employers.

The decision deals with the method of accruing and taking paid personal/carer’s leave for the purposes of the National Employment Standards under the Fair Work Act 2009. On the back of this decision, the Fair Work Ombudsman has announced it is reviewing and updating its advice. Although the decision may be appealed to the High Court if any special leave application is made and granted, the Full Federal Court’s decision clarifies the current state of the law which is:

– Full-time and part-time employees are entitled to 10 working days of paid personal/carer’s leave for each year of employment.

– The leave protects those employees’ income when they are entitled to be absent from work due to illness or injury (or providing care or support to a family or household member who is ill, injured or suffering from an unexpected emergency).

– The leave must be calculated in working days, not hours. A working day is the portion of a 24 hour period that an employee would otherwise be working.

– An employee’s entitlement is expressly based upon the time working for the employer and is expressly calculated in days. For example, every 5.2 weeks, an employee accrues an entitlement to another full day of leave.

– For every day of personal/carer’s leave taken, an employer deducts a day from the employee’s accrued leave balance. If an employee takes a part-day of leave, then an equivalent part-day is deducted from the employee’s accrued leave balance.

What does this mean for employers?

Employers need to review their payroll systems to ensure they are accruing personal/carer’s leave at the correct rate. There could also be implications for part-time employment contracts and leave policies.

We recommend you review these systems and documents and contact the Catalina Consultant team if you require any assistance.

say hi to our author

Merilyn founded Catalina Consultants in 2012 on the belief that all organisations, regardless of size, should have access to top quality bespoke HR services. She enjoys working closely with her clients and believes that the best results are built on relationships of rapport, trust and authenticity. Growing up, Merilyn had her sight set on stardom and dreamed of becoming an actor. She also sang and played the piano, but ended up studying accounting and HR. Whilst she hasn’t won her Grammy just yet, she still loves a good karaoke night. Merilyn loves to travel with her family, with South Africa being one of her most memorable destinations.

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