- Cancer Information
- Practical concerns
- Cancer, work and you
- For workers
- Working during treatment and recovery
- Leave entitlements
There are several types of leave options available to help you balance work and treatment. The National Employment Standards outline the rules for several types of paid and unpaid leave, which apply under most awards or enterprise agreements in Australia. For more details about the different types of leave, see below.
Entitlements offered under awards or agreements may be different from those provided by the National Employment Standards but can’t be less. You should check the terms of your agreement. Learn some ways to manage your leave.
Leave options include:
- Can be taken when you are unwell or injured, or if you need to care for an immediate family or household member. It used to be called sick leave.
- Permanent full-time employees receive a minimum of 10 days of paid personal leave each year.
- Part-time employees receive a pro rata (proportional) amount of personal leave days based on the number of hours they work.
- Paid personal leave is an entitlement for all employees except casuals.
- This type of leave is paid at the employee’s base rate of pay.
- An employer can ask you to provide proof that you need to take personal leave (e.g. a medical certificate).
- Unused leave days carry over from year to year (accumulate or accrue).
- Employees can take as much leave as they have accumulated.
- This type of leave is not paid out when you leave your employer.
- Also known as holiday pay.
- Paid annual leave is an entitlement for all employees except casuals. Full‑time employees receive a minimum of four weeks of paid annual leave for each year of service with their employer. Part-time staff receive leave on a pro rata (proportional) basis.
- Annual leave is paid at the employee’s base rate of pay. Under some awards or agreements, employees are paid an increased rate (leave loading).
- Unused annual leave accumulates over time. Your employer can direct you to take annual leave, but the request must be reasonable.
- Annual leave continues to accumulate when an employee takes a period of paid leave. Leave doesn’t accumulate during periods of unpaid leave.
- An employee must apply for annual leave before taking it.
- An employer must approve annual leave unless they have reasonable grounds to refuse it.
- If you leave your employer, any unused annual leave will be paid out.
Long service leave
- A period of paid leave after you’ve worked continuously for the same employer for an extended period of time. This leave may apply after 7–10 years.
- If you have worked for the same employer for an extended period of time and resign due to illness, you may be entitled to a pro rata long service leave payment. This may apply after 5–7 years.
- The amount of leave and the lengths of service required are different depending on which state or territory you live in.
- Long service leave is paid at the employee’s ordinary rate of pay. In some cases, you may be able to take a longer period of leave at half-pay.
- Once you are entitled to take long service leave, any unused leave is usually paid out when you leave your employer.
- Periods of unpaid leave do not count towards continuous service for the accrual of long service leave.
- If you have used all your paid personal leave or if you are a casual employee, your employer might grant you leave from work without pay. This is not an entitlement – it is up to your employer to allow it.
- You may have to use your annual leave before your employer allows you to take leave without pay.
- Personal leave and annual leave do not usually accumulate when you are on unpaid leave.
- All employees are entitled to two days of unpaid carer’s leave. This leave can be taken each time a member of an employee’s immediate family or household needs care and support because of illness, injury or an emergency. Full-time and part-time employees must have used all their paid personal leave before they can take unpaid carer’s leave.
|For more information about entitlements under the National Employment Standards (NES), see fairwork.gov.au or check your award or agreement.|
Kerryann White, Manager, People and Culture, Cancer Council SA; Nicola Martin, Principal, McCabe Curwood, NSW; Jane Auchettl, Coordinator, Education and Training Programs, Cancer Council Victoria; Craig Brewer, Consumer; Alana Cochrane, Human Resources Business Partner, Greater Bank Newcastle, NSW; Shona Gates, Senior Social Worker, North West Cancer Centre, North West Regional Hospital, TAS; Dianne Head, Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead, NSW; Alex Kelly, Talent Acquisition Business Partner, Aon, NSW; Prof Bogda Koczwara AM, Senior Staff Specialist, Department of Medical Oncology, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Sharyn McGowan, Occupational Therapist, Bendigo Health, VIC; Jeanne Potts, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; Michelle Smerdon, Legal and Financial Support Services Manager, Cancer Council NSW. We would also like to than the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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