Sick & carer's leave

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.

Sick and carer's leave (also known as personal leave or personal / carer's leave) lets an employee take time off to help them deal with personal illness, caring responsibilities and family emergencies.

Sick leave can be used when an employee is ill or injured. 

An employee may have to take time off to care for an immediate family or household member who is sick or injured or help during a family emergency. This is known as carer's leave but it comes out of the employee's personal leave balance.

The National Employment Standards includes both paid and unpaid leave entitlements. For more information go to:

Immediate family members or household members

An immediate family member is a:

  • spouse or former spouse
  • de facto partner or former de facto partner
  • child
  • parent
  • grandparent
  • grandchild
  • sibling, or
  • child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee's spouse or de facto partner (or former spouse or de facto partner).

 This definition includes step-relations (eg. step-parents and step-children) as well as adoptive relations.

A household member is any person who lives with the employee.

Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.12 and 97 external-icon.png

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