Payment for sick & carer's leave

The method of accruing and taking of personal/carer's leave for the purposes of the National Employment Standards is currently the subject of legal proceedings before the Federal Court (Mondelez Australia Pty Ltd v AMWU & others (VID 731/2018)). The decision in these proceedings may impact upon the FWO's advice on these matters. The FWO will be reviewing its advice at the conclusion of these proceedings. In the interim, you may wish to seek your own legal advice on this issue.

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 only paid for the hours they would normally work (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 his overtime is not included in his base pay rate.

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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Check out our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:

  • figuring out if a mistake has been made
  • talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
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