Sick & carer's leave

Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility in awards

On 8 April 2020, the Fair Work Commission made determinations varying 99 awards to provide unpaid pandemic leave and greater flexibility for annual leave for employees in many awards. Read more at Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave changes to awards.

Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

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

Find out more on Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws.

A Full Federal Court decision handed down on 21 August 2019 confirmed the method of accruing and taking paid personal/carer’s leave under the National Employment Standards. The information on this page has been updated to reflect this decision. An appeal of this decision will be heard by the High Court. In the meantime, the decision made on 21 August 2019 is the current state of the law and applies to affected employers and employees. Find out more about this decision.

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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