Part-time employees

Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

If your workplace has been impacted by coronavirus, we have information about your workplace rights and obligations at Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws.

A number of temporary changes have been introduced due to coronavirus including:

  • JobKeeper – changes to the Fair Work Act to support the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme
  • temporary award changes – allowing for temporary workplace flexibility in some awards
  • pandemic leave – unpaid and paid pandemic leave (including worker and disaster payments) during coronavirus.
  • These changes may affect the information on this page.

On 13 August 2020, the High Court handed down a decision about the method of accruing and taking paid personal/carer’s leave under the National Employment Standards. The High Court has found that the entitlement to 10 days of personal/carer’s leave is calculated based on an employee’s hours of work, not days. 10 days of personal leave can be calculated as 1/26 of an employee's ordinary hours of work in a year.

The High Court’s decision overturns a decision made by the Full Federal Court in August 2019. We’ve updated the information on this page as a result.

Learn more about the decision at High Court decision: accrual of personal/carer's leave.

A part-time employee:

What part-time employees get

Part-time employees get get the same minimum entitlements (such as sick leave and annual leave) as a full-time employee, but on a pro-rata basis.

Example: Sick and carer's leave entitlements for part­-time employees

Suzanne is a full-time employee who works 38 hours, 5 days a week. Rebecca is a part-time employee who works an average of 19 hours per week, working a 5-day fortnight. Suzanne gets 76 hours (or 10 days) of paid sick and carer's leave per year. Rebecca gets half of Suzanne’s paid sick and carer's leave per year as she works half the hours Suzanne works.

How part-time is different to full-time or casual

On 20 May 2020, the Full Federal Court of Australia handed down a decision about casual employment and leave entitlements. We’ve reviewed our information and confirm that it is accurate in light of this decision. For more information see WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 external-icon.png .

On 17 June 2020, WorkPac Pty Ltd applied to the High Court of Australia seeking special leave to appeal this decision. We’ll monitor this application and update our information with any significant changes. In the meantime, the information on this page reflects the current state of the law. 

Full-time employees work longer hours. On average, they work 38 hours per week.

Casual employees usually work irregular hours. A casual employee does not have a firm commitment in advance from their employer about how long they will be employed for, or the days or hours they will work.

Find information about changing from part-time to casual employment.

Part-time hours of work agreements

Many awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements have record-keeping arrangements for part-time employees about their hours of work.

Find information about hours of work arrangements for part-time employees in your award by selecting from the list below.

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Check out our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:

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