Annual leave (also known as holiday pay) allows an employee to be paid while having time off from work.
The entitlement to annual leave 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.
For a quick overview of how annual leave works, watch our short video to find out who is entitled to annual leave, how much leave an employee earns and how leave can be taken.
Who is entitled to annual leave?
All employees (except for casual employees) get paid annual leave.
How much annual leave does an employee get?
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.
- Building, construction and on-site trades
- Contract cleaning services
- Hair and beauty
- Health support services
- Real estate
- Road Transport
- Social, community, disability and home care services
- Storage services and wholesale
- Don't know
How does annual leave accumulate?
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 and paid sick and carer's leave
- community service leave including jury duty
- long service leave.
Annual leave does not 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 is not considered to be paid leave. An employee does not accumulate annual leave while being paid by the Paid Parental Leave Scheme.
Leave does not accumulate for a period of annual leave that has been cashed out.
Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) section 87
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Check out our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:
- figuring out if a mistake has been made
- talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
- getting help from us if you can't resolve it.
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