Paid annual leave & sick & carer's leave - Frequently Asked Questions

This article has answers to specific questions about how paid annual leave and sick and carer’s leave accumulates, is taken and is paid. Find out about:

  • leave accumulation for part time employees who work irregular hours
  • accumulating leave while on leave at half pay
  • accessing leave during quarantine and self-isolation
  • leave accumulation for award free commission only employees and pieceworkers.

How does leave accumulate for part time employees who work irregular hours?

Annual leave and sick and carer’s leave accumulate based on an employee’s ordinary hours of work. An employee can take paid leave once they have accumulated it.

Part time employees that are not covered by an award or registered agreement might work irregular hours. To work out their ordinary hours of work you need to:

  • calculate the total number of hours worked in the last 4 weeks
  • divide by 4.

What if they worked for less than 4 weeks?

You need to:

  • calculate the total number of hours worked during the period
  • divide by the number of completed weeks worked.

How does leave accumulate while on leave at half pay?

Some awards and agreements allow employees to take leave at half pay.

Annual leave and sick and carer’s leave will continue to accumulate based on the number of hours they would usually work.

This means an employee on leave at half pay accumulates leave as if they were on leave at full pay. The employee isn’t taking unpaid leave, they still accrue leave according to their ordinary weekly hours of work.

Temporary changes to annual leave entitlements

The Fair Work Commission has varied many awards to insert a new Schedule X, which allows employees to take annual leave at half pay to manage the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

A list of the awards that contain Schedule X and the end date of the Schedule is available from FWO’s website.

What leave options are available during quarantine and self-isolation?

For information about accessing leave for employees who have to quarantine or self-isolate due to the Covid-19 pandemic, please see Quarantine & self-isolation: pay & leave options.

How does leave accumulate for award free commission only employees and pieceworkers?

Commission only employees and pieceworkers who aren't covered by an award or agreement accumulate annual leave and sick and carer’s leave based on the employee's ordinary hours of work.

Leave is paid at the employee’s minimum hourly rate.

An employee’s minimum hourly rate is worked out as follows:

Step 1: work out the total amount earned by the employee in a particular period.

Step 2: divide that amount by the total number of hours worked in the same period.

More information

For more information, go to Annual leave and  Paid sick & carer's leave.

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