What is Personal (Sick) and Carer's leave

Personal (Sick) and Carer’s leave differs between the two Australian industrial relations systems. Please refer to the relevant section below that applies to your workplace. The below guide is an excerpt from the full guide.

National System
Personal leave (commonly called Sick leave) and Carer’s leave allows an employee to take time off for a personal illness, caring responsibilities and family emergencies.

Personal leave can be utilised when the employee is unfit for work because they are experiencing an illness or injury themselves.

Carer’s leave can be utilised when the employee needs to care for a member of their immediate family or household who is sick or injured or during an unexpected emergency affecting the member. Carer’s leave comes out of the employee's personal (sick) leave balance.

Personal/Carer’s leave can be both a paid and unpaid entitlement under the National Employment Standards
Who is included in an employee’s ‘immediate family’ or household?
An immediate family member is:
  • A spouse or former spouse, de facto partner or former de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee; and
  • A child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of a spouse or de facto partner (or former spouse or de facto partner) of the employee. A household member is any person who lives with the employee.
How much paid personal/carer’s leave does an employee get?
The NES provides all employees (except casual employees) with 10 days personal/carer’s leave for each 12 months of service.  Awards and agreements may provide for additional personal leave entitlements over and above the NES provision.
Employers must keep records of any personal/carer’s leave taken.

Calculating an employee’s personal/carer’s leave entitlement
For each year of service with the same employer, an employee is entitled to 10 days paid personal/carer’s leave that accrues progressively according to their ordinary hours of work and accumulates from year to year. Additionally personal/carer’s leave would accrue on periods of paid leave (e.g. public holidays, annual and personal/carer’s leave).

State System
Sick leave or Carer’s leave entitlement under the State system can be both a paid and unpaid entitlement under the Minimum Condtions of Employment Act

State awards in Western Australia may specify additional requirements relating to payment for Sick/Carer’s leave and how and when it is taken.

Who is entitled to Sick/Carer’s Leave?
An employee, other than a casual employee, is generally entitled to be paid two weeks of Sick /Carer’s leave each year, up to a maximum of 76 hours per year. Sick/Carer’s leave can be taken in part days. Casuals can access unpaid carer’s leave. Award-free employees in the state system and who are paid solely by commission or piece rate are not entitled to paid Sick/Carer’s leave.

What can Sick/Carer’s leave be used for?
Sick/Carer’s leave entitles an employee to paid time off work for either illness or injury to themselves, or because they have to take care of a member of their family or household who is injured or ill (carer’s leave).  
For the purpose of carer’s leave, a member of the family or household means any of the following people:
  • The employee’s spouse or de facto partner
  • A child, step child or grandchild of the employee (including an adult child, step child or grandchild)
  • A parent, step parent or grandparent of the employee
  • A sibling of the employee
  • Any other person who, at or immediately before the relevant time lived with the employee as a member of the employee’s household.
How much Sick/Carer’s leave does an employee get?
Similar to the national system entitlement, full time and part time employees are entitled to paid Sick/Carer’s leave equivalent to a maximum of 76 hours per year.
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This document does not constitute human resource or legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should contact the HR Help Desk or seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content. © Wentworth Advantage Pty Ltd 2017