How to Manage Personal, Carer’s & Compassionate Leave

Personal/carer’s leave is one of the ten National Employment Standards (NES). This How To Guide establishes guidelines for managers to follow when employees require this leave.

How to Manage Personal, Carer’s & Compassionate Leave

Sickness or being unwell at times is a natural part of life, and this may let an employee take time off from work. So, being an employer, you must be aware of the policy and rules to deal with such leaves. There may be times when employees are needed to take care of a family member who is unwell and ask for leave. This is called as the Carer’s leave. These personal and carer’s leaves are essential entitlements to all employees according to National Employment Standards (NES).

Why manage sick (personal/carer’s) leave?

There are a number of adverse impacts caused by a culture of “sickies” in the workplace including:

  • Contagious lack of engagement;
  • Disregard for the purpose of the workplace and welfare of fellow employees (eg: excessive hours to keep up);
  • Negative impact on productivity;
  • Cost implications – e.g.: overtime to complete work, work not completed by deadlines resulting in lost business etc.

When can an employee take personal/Carer’s/Compassionate leave?

Personal or carer’s leave is applicable only when the employee or their immediate family member, or a member of their household, is ill, injured or has an emergency. Spouse, children, parent, grandparent, grandchild and siblings are considered as immediate family members. But that doesn’t mean they can take as much personal leave as they like. Most employees will accrue a minimum of 10 days of paid personal and carer’s leave per year (subject to the relevant Award, Enterprise Agreement, policy or employment contract). To prevent employees abusing the use of sick leave, they must provide you with suitable evidence. A medical certificate and statutory statement affirming that the employee was unfit for work will suffice.

What payments are required when personal/carer’s leave is taken?

When an employee takes paid personal/carer’s leave, the minimum requirement is to pay them at their base rate of pay for the ordinary working hours during the period. However, the payment should not include any of the following:

  • Incentive-based payments and bonuses
  • Loadings
  • Monetary allowances
  • Overtime or penalty rates
  • Other separately identifiable amounts

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