Personal/carer's leave is the current legal term for 'sick leave' and forms part of the National Employment Standards (NES).
The NES, as outlined below, applies to all employees covered by the national workplace relations system and so understanding your employees sick, personal and carer’s leave entitlements is important for employers. It is best to have policies which cover personal leave (including sick, carer's and compassionate leave) so your employees know their entitlements.
If you don't have policies use the Business Victoria HR Manual Template (DOC 1938.5 KB) which includes personal and compassionate leave policies.
All full-time employees except casuals are entitled to a minimum of 10 days paid personal leave (which includes sick leave and carer's leave). This is accrued progressively for a full-time employee and pro-rata for a part-timer during a year. To calculate leave use the Fair Work Ombudsman leave calculator.
Quick guide to managing sick leave
When can my employee take personal leave?
Your employee can take personal/carer's leave if he/she or an immediate family or household member is sick, injured or has an unexpected emergency. An employee's immediate family member includes spouse or de facto partner and their child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling.
Your employee will need to give you notice as soon as practicable (which may be a time after the leave has started). They must also advise you of the period or expected period of leave.
You can ask an employee for a medical certificate for each period of personal/carer's leave. For sick leave, the certificate must state the employee was, is or will be unfit for work because of personal illness or injury. For carer's leave, the certificate must state the person the employee cared for, has had, or will have, a personal illness or injury.
A medical certificate does not have to give exact details about the injury or illness – asking for this information might breach the employee's privacy.The employee can also supply a statutory declaration instead if it's impractical for them to provide a medical certificate. The NES requires documentary evidence 'that would satisfy a reasonable person'.
When paid personal/carer’s leave is taken, the minimum requirement is that an employee must be paid at their base rate of pay for the ordinary hours they would have worked during the period. This does not include:
- monetary allowances
- overtime or penalty rates
- any other separately identifiable amounts.
Note: An employees' applicable award may provide a more favourable method of payment.
How much personal leave (sick leave) are my employees entitled to?
Under the National Employment Standards (NES), all full-time employees except casuals are entitled to a minimum of 10 days paid personal leave (which includes sick leave and carer's leave).
In addition, all employees (including casuals) are entitled to two days unpaid leave for each occasion to care for a member of their family or household who is sick or affected by an unexpected emergency.
This may be different if the employee is covered by an award or enterprise agreement, or if the employee’s common law contract contains more generous entitlements. For more information on sick leave visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.