Annual leave

Annual leave (also known as holiday pay) allows an employee to be paid while having time off from work.

Who gets annual leave

All employees (except for casual employees) get paid annual leave. This entitlement comes from the National Employment Standards (NES).

Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements can't offer less than the NES but they can give more annual leave.

Video: Annual leave

Watch our short video on annual leave to learn about:

  • who is entitled to annual leave
  • how much annual leave an employee is entitled to and how it accrues
  • how and when employees can take annual leave
  • cashing out annual leave.

How much annual leave an employee gets

Full-time and part-time employees get 4 weeks of annual leave, based on their ordinary hours of work.

Example: Annual leave for part-time employees

Jane is a part-time employee who works 20 hours per week for a year.

During one year, she will accumulate 80 hours of annual leave (the equivalent of 4 weeks work for her).


Shiftworkers may get up to 5 weeks of annual leave per year.

Find information about annual leave for shiftworkers in your award by selecting from the list below.

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How annual leave accumulates

Annual leave accumulates from the first day of employment, even if an employee is in a probation period.

The leave accumulates gradually during the year and any unused annual leave will roll over from year to year.

Annual leave accumulates when an employee is on:

  • paid leave such as:
    • paid annual leave
    • paid sick and carer's leave
    • paid family and domestic violence leave
  • community service leave including jury duty
  • long service leave.

Annual leave doesn't accumulate when the employee is on:

  • unpaid annual leave
  • unpaid sick/carer's leave
  • unpaid parental leave.

The Australian Government's Paid Parental Leave Scheme isn't considered to be paid leave. An employee doesn't accumulate annual leave while being paid by the Paid Parental Leave Scheme if the person is taking unpaid leave from their employer at this time.

Leave doesn't accumulate for a period of annual leave that has been cashed out.

Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.87

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