Payment for 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 is paid at an employee’s base pay rate for each hour or part of an hour of leave they take.

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 (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 nights until 7pm. Steve is sick and takes a day of sick leave on a Wednesday. Steve is entitled to be paid sick leave for his normal hours of 9am-5pm, not the overtime hours.

Read our Paid annual leave & sick & carer's leave - FAQs library article for more information about accruing, taking and payment for sick and carer’s leave.

To calculate sick and carer's leave entitlements, use our Leave Calculator.

Employees may have to give notice or evidence to get paid for sick and carer's leave. 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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