Taking annual leave

Annual leave accumulates based on an employee's ordinary hours and allows them to take paid time off from work.

Requesting annual leave

An employee needs to request to take annual leave before going on leave. The process for requesting annual leave is often set out in an award or registered agreement, company policy or contract of employment.

An employer can only refuse an employee's request for annual leave if the refusal is reasonable.

Rules for taking annual leave

Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements can set out rules about:

  • taking annual leave in advance
  • managing large amounts of leave.

Find information in your award by selecting from the list below.

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If you're covered by a registered agreement, check the terms of your agreement for information about taking leave in advance or excessive leave. To find an enterprise agreement, go to the Fair Work Commission website.

Cancelling annual leave

Employers or employees may want to cancel approved annual leave in some situations.

For example, an employer may want to cancel an employee’s leave because the business is busier than usual and they need more staff working.

An employer or an employee can only cancel approved annual leave if the cancellation isn’t unreasonable.

Awards, enterprise agreements, employment contracts and workplace policies may have extra rules about cancelling approved annual leave. Make sure you check what applies to you.

Employers cancelling annual leave

Before cancelling an employee’s leave, employers should consider:

  • whether any costs have been incurred by the employee (for example, if the employee has paid a deposit for activities during their leave)
  • how much notice of the cancellation is given.

Employees cancelling annual leave

If an employee asks to cancel their approved annual leave, an employer shouldn’t unreasonably refuse the request.

How much annual leave can be taken at one time

There's no minimum or maximum amount of annual leave that can be taken at a time. Provided the employer and employee agree, an employee can take a:

  • part day
  • single day, or
  • number of days or weeks off.

Employees don't need to take all their annual leave at once.

Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.88

Tools and resources

Related information

Have a workplace problem?

Problems can happen in any workplace. If you have a workplace problem, we have tools and information to help you resolve it.

Check out our Fixing a workplace problem section for practical information about:

  • working out if there is a problem
  • speaking with your employer or employee about fixing the problem
  • getting help from us if you can't fix the problem.

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