What are the standard leave policies in Australia?

Australian labor law requires employers to provide three main types of leave to employees: annual leave, parental leave, and sickness/carer’s leave, which has paid and unpaid components. Those leave policies are as follows: 


  • Annual leave: Both full-time and part-time employees are entitled to four weeks of paid leave annually. Employees begin accruing annual leave from their first day of work and can roll over unused leave from one year to the next. 
  • Parental leave: A mother who has worked for an employer in Australia for at least 12 months is entitled to 12 months unpaid maternity leave with full job protection. She may also apply for federal funding, which, if approved, can provide up to 18 weeks of payment during her maternity leave, as well as an additional 12 months of unpaid leave (for a total of 24 months). Fathers who have worked for an employer for at least 12 months are entitled to five days of leave upon the birth or adoption of a child. They may apply for more leave through the federal government. 
  • Sickness or carer's leave: Sick and carer's leave (also known as personal leave or personal/carer's leave) allows an employee to take time off to manage personal illness or injury, caring responsibilities, and family emergencies. Carer's leave is drawn from an employee's personal leave balance and includes both paid and unpaid leave benefits. 
    • Paid sick and carer’s leave: The yearly entitlement of paid sick and carer’s leave is based on an employee’s ordinary hours of work, usually ten days for full-time employees and pro-rata for part-time employees. Available leave can be calculated as 1/26 of an employee’s ordinary hours of work in a year. The balance at the end of each year carries over to the next year if not used. An employee can take as much paid sick or carer's leave as they have accumulated. There is no minimum or maximum amount of paid sick or carer's leave that can be taken at a time. 
    • Unpaid carer’s leave: All employees, including casual employees, are entitled to two days of unpaid carer’s leave each time an immediate family member or household member of the employee needs care and support because of illness, injury, or an unexpected emergency. Full-time and part-time employees are eligible for unpaid carer’s leave only after they have used all of their paid sick/carer’s leave. Unpaid carer’s leave can be taken in one continuous period (e.g., two full working days in a row), or in separate periods as agreed between the employee and employer (e.g., four half days taken in a row). An employer may not take negative action against an employee for taking unpaid carer’s leave. 

When you manage employees through a PEO in Australia, the provider will keep a detailed record of all statutory, contractual, and voluntary leave allowances and provide ongoing reporting of leaves requested, taken, and earned. 

If you have questions about wages and hours regulations in Australia, please get in touch with our team today! 

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