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Sick Leave and Holiday Leave Entitlements in Australia

Once you have hired employees in Australia, they will be entitled to sick leave and annual leave according to the Fair Work Act.  If this is your first time hiring in Australia, you might not know the statutory entitlements for your employees, and this guide will give you a summary of the basic rules.

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Sick Leave and Carer’s Leave in Australia

There are two types of leave in Australia that allow an employee to deal with an illness.  Sick leave is used when the employee is ill or injured and carer’s leave gives them time off to take care of a family member.

The paid leave entitlement is 10 days per year for combined sick and carer’s leave, and whatever the unused balance is at the end of the year can be carried over.  There is an additional 2 days of carer’s leave per year, but it is unpaid.

Holiday and Annual Leave in Australia

Holiday leave in Australia is generous compared to some countries like China or the US, and every employee is entitled to four weeks of paid annual leave.  Even if your home office employees receive less than this, the statutory minimum will apply to all of your employees in Australia, both locals and expats.

Client Case: Bereavement Leave in Australia

Context

A client with employees in Australia had questions about bereavement leave, and whether it was deducted from sick leave and how it was handled by the local employer of record.

Solution

We let them know that bereavement leave is provided as a part of compassionate leave under the Fair Work Act in Australia, and is separate from sick leave.  The amount of leave is 2 days that are paid, every time a family member dies or has a life threatening illness or injury.  The employee has to give notice and tell the employer how much leave time they need, as well as provide some evidence such as a death certificate.

The compassionate leave can be taken as:

  • a single continuous 2-day period, or
  • 2 separate periods of 1 day each, or
  • any separate periods the employee and the employer agree.

This type of leave is not accumulated like annual or sick leave, and can be taken any time it is needed.  If the employee is on holiday leave and needs bereavement leave, it can be used instead.

Do you need more information on Australia?

Australia’s annual, sick and compassionate leave is a good example of how entitlements differ between countries, and if you are new to employing in Australia you might need more information such as:

How are leave entitlements logged and tracked by the local employer?

If an employee needs more than 2 days of compassionate leave, can those be taken unpaid?

Can carer’s leave be used for unmarried partners or friends?

Through our in country experts and local partners, we can help you answer these questions and other about immigration, tax and statutory entitlements.  We make international employment simple.

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