Personal leave incorporates sick leave and carer’s leave and is available to all employees.  The entitlement is 10 days for a full time employee and a pro rata amount for a part-time employee e.g. if a part-time employee works for 40% of the full time hours, the part-time employee would be entitled to personal leave calculated at 40% of the full time employee entitlement i.e. 4 days.

Carer’s Leave

Carer’s leave is part of personal leave and can be taken as the entire personal leave entitlement, for the employee to look after a member of their family who is sick.

Under the Fair Work Australia rules, if the employee wishes to access carer’s leave and there is no personal leave entitlement left, then the employee can take up to 2 days of unpaid carer’s leave annually.

If the employee does not claim all of the personal leave to which they are entitled in a year, then the amount unclaimed rolls over until the next year.

No Cash Out

Whilst an employee can cash out part of annual leave and long service leave, no such provision exists for personal leave.  This means that if the full amount of personal leave is not taken, it rolls over until the next year or to some future years so that, in the event of the employee being sick or injured, they may have a reasonable build up in the entitlement of personal leave available.

If an employee leaves a business’ employment, the employer does not have to make any payment for the accumulated personal leave not taken by the employee unless there is specific provision within a registered Enterprise Agreement for a payout of unused personal leave to be made at the time that an employee finishes their employment with an employer.

No Leave Available

If an employee exhausts all of their personal leave and they require to take personal leave, they could take the leave from their annual leave entitlement or negotiate with the employer for leave without pay – but this is not an entitlement, the employee has to apply to the employer for the leave without pay and the employer has to agree to that.

Medical Certificates

The employer is entitled to request an employee to present a medical certificate pertaining to sick leave being claimed by the employee.  The definition of medical practitioners authorised to issue medical certificates has been expanded by Fair Work Australia and now includes:

  • Chiropractors – for pain and injury
  • Dentists – for dental issues or oral surgery
  • Pharmacists – where pain may prevent someone from performing their normal duties or medication may interfere with them performing their normal duties
  • Physiotherapists – where an injury can prevent someone from performing their normal work role
  • Psychologist – where a mental health conditions can prevent someone from performing their normal work role

If an employee wishes to take leave for the care of a family member then the employee should be able to produce a medical certificate that has been issued by an authorised practitioner relative to the family member for whom the employee is the primary carer.

If a medical practitioner is consistently seeing a patient, who is the employee, over a period of time, then the medical practitioner can back date the medical certificate for that employee.  However, if the medical practitioner has only seen the employee for a particular instance, then the medical certificate can only relate to the date of that consultation.

Request for Additional Information – Medical Certificates

The employer may request some additional information from the medical practitioner in certain circumstances:

  • Where the injury or illness may have implications in the Occupational Health & Safety areas for which the employer is responsible.
  • Where the medical practitioner believes there should be a restriction on the work levels able to be performed by the employee.
  • Where the employer has reasonable suspicions of fraudulent behaviour relative to the obtaining of medical certificates.

Whilst the employer can request further information, there is no requirement for the medical practitioner to provide any additional information, if they do not wish to do so.

If you have any questions relative to the rules pertaining to personal leave, it is suggested that you contact your people/employment advisers (HR – Human Resources).


An Important Message

While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents.  Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.