Leave policy in Australia

Leave policy in Australia
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The Commonwealth of Australia has employment laws that are favorable to employees. Employment laws, also known as labor laws or labor codes, regulate the relationship between employees and employers.

The Fair Work Act and the Fair Work Regulations guarantee fairness to all employees working in Australia. Included in these laws, as well as the National Employment Standards, are requirements for employers to give employees various forms of leave throughout the year, including annual leave. Workers are entitled to take a certain number of days off per year for each reason.

Some of those reasons include times when employees may take leaves of absence for medical care such as sick leave and maternity leave. Employees are entitled to adoption leave and compassionate leave as well.

There are also eight public holidays in Australia on which employees are entitled to take leave from work and on which they must not be made to work by their employers.

This article will go into detail about the forms of leave to which all employees in the nation of Australia are entitled, based on Australian labor laws and regulations.

Annual leave in Australia

Employees in Australia are entitled to four weeks of annual leave. Annual leave, or holiday leave, is paid time off for full-time employees and unpaid time off for casual employees. Shift workers can get up to five weeks of annual leave.

Part-time workers get a proportional amount of leave. For example, if an employee works 20 hours per week, that employee will get 80 hours of annual leave. Leave starts accumulating from the first day of employment and any unused leave rolls over into the next year.

An employer of record such as Skuad can help your company to offer annual leave to your employees in Australia as well as other types of leave as required by law.

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Public holidays in Australia

There are seven national holidays in Australia. States and territories may have additional holidays. Employees receive different entitlements depending on where they are located.

Holiday Date for 2023
New Year’s Day January 1
Australia Day January 26
Good Friday April 7
Easter Monday April 10
Anzac Day April 25
Christmas Day December 25
Boxing Day December 26

Sick leave in Australia

In Australia, employees are entitled to sick leave for themselves when they or a family member is sick or injured. An employee can take leave to take care of an immediate family member or a member of their household.

A household member is anyone who lives with the employee. An immediate family member of the employee is a:

  • Spouse
  • Partner
  • Child or step-child
  • Parent or step-parent
  • Grandparent
  • Grandchild
  • Sibling
  • An immediate family member of spouse

When an employee needs to take leave to take care of a family member, it is called carer’s leave. Sick and carer’s leave are paid leave when an employee is sick or injured and cannot work or if an immediate family member or household member is sick, injured, or has had an emergency.

Full-time employees are entitled to ten days of paid sick and carer’s leave per year. Part-time employees get a proportional amount of sick and carer’s leave. All employees, including casual employees, are entitled to two days of unpaid carer’s leave. Full-time and part-time employees can use two days of unpaid carer’s leave after they’ve used any remaining paid sick and carer’s leave.

Sick and carer’s leave accumulates throughout the year. The balance of unused leave rolls over into the following year.

An employer of record such as Skuad can help your company to develop a competitive benefits package. This package can include all types of leave such as annual leave, sick leave, and the other types of leave required to be provided by law. Your company can go above the statutory minimums and develop a leave policy that will attract and retain the best employees. Talk to our experts to know more.

Maternity leave in Australia

Employees are entitled to parental leave when a child is either born or adopted. Parental leave includes

  • Maternity leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Partner leave
  • Adoption leave

Parental leave can be taken after an employee gives birth, an employee’s spouse or partner gives birth, or after a child under the age of 16 has been adopted. Employees can take 12 months of unpaid parental leave and can request an additional 12 months. An employee is entitled to parental leave after they have worked for an employer for 12 months before the expected delivery date or date of adoption.

Unpaid special maternity leave can be taken by employees if the pregnancy ends after at least 12 weeks other than by the birth of a living child.

Pay for maternity leave is up to 18 weeks, paid at the national minimum wage by the government to the employer, who then pays the employee. The first period of parental leave pay is a continuous 12-week period that must be used within 12 months of the birth or adoption of the child.

The second period of parental leave pay is a flexible period of 30 days taken after the first period has ended but within 24 months of the birth or adoption of the child. This period can be taken in separate flexible periods negotiated with the employer. Paid parental leave can be taken before, during, or after any other paid or unpaid leave.

Paternity leave in Australia

Fathers and partners, including same-sex partners, are entitled to two weeks of paid paternity leave. To receive this paid leave, the employee must be one of the following:

  • Biological father
  • Partner of the birth mother
  • Adopted parent of the adopted child
  • Partner of an adopted parent
  • Someone caring for a baby born of a surrogacy

The rate of paternity leave, also known as Dad and Partner Pay, is paid at the national minimum wage by the government to the employer, who then pays the employee.

To be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay, the employee:

  • Cannot be the birth mother of the child
  • Must care for a newborn or newly adopted child
  • Must have worked 10 of the 13 months before starting Dad and Partner Pay
  • Must have worked at least 330 hours during those 10 months
  • Cannot have more than 12 weeks of a gap between workdays during those 10 months
  • Must earn $156,647 or less of adjusted taxable income for the financial year 2021-2022
  • Must not be working or taking paid leave during the Dad and Partner Pay
  • Must register the child’s birth with the state or territory birth registry, if the child is a newborn
  • Must have Australian citizenship or a visa
  • Needs to care for the child for each day of the Dad and Partner Pay period

Compassionate leave in Australia

Compassionate leave is another term for bereavement leave. Employees are entitled to take this leave when:

  • An immediate family member or household member dies or contracts a life-threatening injury or illness
  • A baby in the employee’s immediate family or household is stillborn
  • An employee has a miscarriage
  • An employee’s spouse or partner has a miscarriage

Although compassionate leave is not considered part of an employee’s carer’s leave, the definition of an immediate family member for entitlement to compassionate leave is the same as carer’s leave.

Entitlement to compassionate leave is two days each time the employee meets the above-mentioned criteria. Compassionate leave can be taken as a single two-day period or two separate days. Employers can agree to the division of leave taken. If the employee is on another type of leave, they can use compassionate leave rather than use the other type of for those days.

Full-time and part-time employees are entitled to compassionate leave paid at the rate they would have earned during the time taken off. Casual employees can take compassionate leave, but it is unpaid leave.

This leave does not accumulate during periods of any unpaid leave and is not cashed out at the end of the year or the end of employment.

Easily Navigate Leave Policy in Australia

When developing a leave policy in Australia, it is important to provide employees with the minimum amount of statutory leave entitlements. Statutory benefits, or mandatory benefits, are benefits that employees must be given, by law.

Employers can always go above and beyond the minimum requirements for statutory benefits, including leave entitlements. Companies can develop comprehensive and competitive benefits packages to attract and retain talented employees.

Companies that are expanding internationally can hire remote employees for full-time remote positions in Australia or any of over 160 countries across the globe with Skuad. Recruiting and hiring teams of remote employees can be easy and flexible with the assistance of an employer of record service such as Skuad.

Skuad manages everything for you: 

  • Hiring employees and writing legally compliant employment agreements.
  • Processing payroll
  • Paying payroll taxes and contributions to mandatory programs such as social security.
  • Onboarding new hires and completing their paperwork
  • Administering benefits, including health insurance policies
  • Ensuring local labor law and tax law compliance

For the ease of hiring remote workers, accurate payroll processing, employment law compliance, and compliance with tax laws, partner with Skuad. Book a demo today.

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