Managing people

Personal and carer's leave

The National Employment Standards (NES) are the main source of entitlement for personal/carer’s leave. Read about personal/carer's leave entitlements here.

29 June 2021

The National Employment Standards cover paid personal/carer’s leave, paid and unpaid compassionate leave, and unpaid carer’s leave. Here’s everything you need to know about personal and carer’s leave– how much time you get off, how much you’ll be paid and other key details.

What is personal and carer’s leave?

Personal and carer’s leave is designed to help Australian workers with personal illness, caring responsibilities, family emergencies and the illness or death of a close family member.

Close family members are defined as your spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, sibling, or grandchild, or any of these relations of your spouse. immediate family member or a member of your household.

These forms of leave are part of the 10 National Employment Standards (NES) that apply to all employees under the Fair Work Act.

Personal and carer’s leave entitlements

Leave entitlements differ for full-time employees and casual employees.

Full-time employees are entitled to:

  • 10 days of personal/carer’s leave for each year of continuous service 
  • up to two days of paid compassionate leave for each occasion of death or serious illness or injury of an immediate family or household member, and
  • If paid carer’s leave is exhausted, full-time employees can claim two days of unpaid carer’s leave on each occasion.

Casual employees are entitled to two days of unpaid compassionate leave for each occasion, and two days of unpaid carer’s leave on each occasion.

How does personal/carer’s leave accrue?

Accrual of personal/carer’s leave is based on an employee’s ordinary hours of work. It can be calculated as 1/26 of an employee’s ordinary hours of work in a year.

If you don’t use your personal/carer’s leave one year, it can be saved up and used the following year.

An employee does not accrue personal/carer’s leave during an absence on workers compensation, unless otherwise provided by the relevant state or territory workers compensation law.

Leave also doesn’t accrue during periods of unpaid leave, an unpaid absence (other than community service leave) and an unauthorised absence (such as unprotected industrial action).

The rate of accrual will also change if you switch from full-time to part-time employment (or vice versa). 

How much do I get paid on personal/carer’s leave?

Paid personal/carer’s leave and compassionate leave is payable at an employee’s base rate of pay for ordinary hours of work in the leave period. 

Under the National Employment Standards, base rate of pay excludes incentive-based payments and bonuses, loadings, allowances, overtime or other ‘additional’ payments.

How to take personal/carer’s leave

To take personal, carer’s or compassionate leave (whether paid or unpaid), an employee must:

  • provide notice to theiremployer as soon as reasonably possible (even if this is after the leave has started).
  • give a reason for the leave, and the expected period of the absence, and
  • if required, provide evidence of your entitlement to leave, such as a medical certificate.

Note that if you are receiving worker’s compensation for an illness or injury, you cannot also take paid personal/carer’s leave.

Also, you do not need to work a full 12 months before you are entitled to paid/carer’s leave. Your entitlement will be calculated by reference to your relevant period of service and ordinary hours of work.

Finally, the amount of accrued paid carer’s leave that can be taken each year is not capped. However, an employee must use their accrued paid personal/carer’s leave before accessing unpaid carer’s leave.

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