Payment for 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 was heard in the High Court on 7 July 2020. We’ll update our information when the High Court has handed down its decision. 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 is paid at an employee’s base pay rate.

An employee who takes paid sick or carer’s leave is paid for the hours they would normally work during the period they took leave, whether it is a whole day or part day (not including overtime hours).

A base pay rate doesn't include separate entitlements such as:

  • incentive-based payments
  • bonuses
  • loadings
  • allowances
  • overtime
  • penalty rates.

Example: Paid sick and carer’s leave on ordinary hours

Steve works 9am-5pm Monday to Friday every week. For the last 6 months he has been working overtime on Wednesday night until 7pm. Steve became sick with a cold and couldn't come into work on Wednesday. When he received his pay, he noticed his employer paid him his normal hours between 9am-5pm as sick leave and did not pay his 2 hours of overtime. This is correct as he is only paid for his ordinary hours of work and not overtime.

Read our Paid sick & carer’s leave – FAQ library article for more information about accruing, taking and payment for sick and carer’s leave.


Employees have to give notice to get paid for sick and carer’s leave. An employer can ask an employee to give evidence that shows the employee took the leave because they:

  • weren’t able to work because of an illness or injury, or
  • needed to provide care or support to an immediate family or household member (because of an illness, injury, or unexpected emergency affecting the member).

Go to the Notice and medical certificates page for more information.

Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.99 external-icon.png

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