Leave and Public Holidays
- The Enterprise Agreement provides for the following types of leave:
- Annual leave
- Personal leave
- Unpaid carer’s leave
- Compassionate leave
- Community service leave
- Miscellaneous leave, including study leave (refer to separate guideline ‘Studies Assistance’)
- Leave for workplace relations training
- Long service leave
- Maternity leave
- Adoption leave
- Supporting partner leave
- Leave without pay (including unpaid parental leave)
- Eligible employees may access the Paid Parental Leave Scheme (PPL Scheme) or Dad and Partner Pay (DAPP) in addition to entitlements to paid and unpaid leave provided under the Enterprise Agreement. Some information on the PPL Scheme and DAPP is provided below but employees should contact the Department of Human Services (DHS) for further information.
- These guidelines provide information in relation to leave entitlements that may be accessed to assist employees who are affected by domestic and/or family violence. Further information is provided below.
- With the exception of long service leave, paid leave provided under the Enterprise Agreement is not available to casual employees.
- The separate guidelines ‘Ongoing, Non-Ongoing and Casual Employment’ and ‘Recognition of Prior Service’ also provide relevant information.
- Employees are to ensure that leave applications, either using the hardcopy leave form or Online HR (where available), are submitted to the employing Member, or authorised person, as soon as practicable for approval and then immediately forwarded to the Department.
- Annual leave accrues daily at the rate of four weeks (150 hours) per year for full-time employees. The accrual of annual leave is pro rata for part-time employees. As a guide, the accrual rate for a full-time employee, working 37 hours 30 minutes per week, is approximately 12 hours 30 minutes per month of eligible service - the monthly figure varies slightly from month to month depending on the number of calendar days in the month. Annual leave may be taken as it accrues.
- There is no limit on the amount of annual leave that may be accrued by employees. However, the purpose of annual leave is to enable employees to have sufficient breaks from the workplace to enable them to perform effectively.
- All decisions about taking annual leave, apart from decisions made under clause 44.6 (where a Member may direct an employee to take a period of annual leave in certain circumstances), should be agreed between the employee and the employing Member, taking into account both the needs and wishes of the employee and the requirements of the workplace. Where reasonable workplace requirements prevent the employing Member from agreeing to a period of annual leave as requested, the reasons for the decision should be discussed with the employee and alternative arrangements agreed.
- In accordance with clause 44.4 of the Enterprise Agreement, employees may take a period of annual leave at full pay, half pay or a combination of the two.
Excess (Canberra) Travel Leave (refer to clause 61.3 of the Enterprise Agreement)
- Parliamentary sittings for the purposes of clause 61.3 of the Enterprise Agreement are considered to include the following:
- sittings of either House of Parliament, including joint sittings;
- Senate Estimates; and
- Parliamentary Committee meetings.
- Claims for Excess (Canberra) Travel Leave must be received by the Department within six months after the travel has been completed or the additional leave will not be provided. Form 41 – Travelling Allowance Claim – When Applying for Additional Annual Leave Credit is available on the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services website and allows the additional annual leave credit to be claimed at the same time as Travelling Allowance.
- For full-time employees, a credit of three weeks is available from the date of commencement of employment and a further three weeks accrues on completion of each further 12 months of eligible service. Part-time employees are entitled to a pro rata accrual of personal leave in the same manner.
- Although there is no cap on the period of personal leave that may be approved for caring purposes (up to the employee’s available leave credit), it is expected that employees will access carer’s leave reasonably and responsibly in accordance with clause 45.3 of the Enterprise Agreement. For example, personal leave is not available for employees to care for healthy children during school holiday periods.
- Employees may take personal leave at either full pay or half pay.
- When applying for personal leave, employees must indicate the type of personal leave taken/to be taken from the list below:
- personal illness or injury;
- carer’s leave (illness/injury); or
- carer’s leave (emergency).
- Any personal leave in respect of the personal illness or injury of the employee taken in excess of an employee’s credit, within the limits set out in paragraph 22, will be considered personal leave without pay, which counts as service.
- Consistent with section 107(3) of the Fair Work Act 2009, it is a matter for Members to determine when and/or whether a medical certificate or other evidence, such as a statutory declaration, must be provided by the employee, to the Member, to cover an absence of personal leave, including carer’s leave. Options could include a requirement that employees provide a certificate for any absence likely to exceed a certain number of consecutive days and/or after a specified number of days of personal leave per year has been used. Requirements should be advised to employees as soon as possible after commencing employment and/or after changing those requirements.
- A medical certificate or statutory declaration must be provided to the Department where an employee seeks to have any form of paid leave, e.g. annual or long service leave, re‑credited in order to use personal leave. A medical certificate is also required to cover an absence associated with a workers’ compensation claim, as well as for absences on personal leave due to illness during the 52 week absence period allowed by the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973.
- In the following circumstances, an employee may be required to undergo a medical examination to determine his/her fitness for duty:
- where the employee is continuously absent due to illness or injury for a period in excess of four weeks; or
- where a report from a treating doctor indicates that the employee is unfit for duty and is likely to remain so for an indefinite period or period of at least four weeks; or
- where the Member has reason to believe the employee is unfit, for some or all of his/her duties, for an indefinite period or a period of at least four weeks.
- In the circumstances described in paragraph 20, the employing Member should provide any medical certificates submitted by the employee to the Department.
- The maximum continuous absence that can be approved as personal leave due to non‑compensable illness or injury is 52 weeks, unless the employee still has paid personal leave credits remaining in which case the employee can use that paid personal leave in accordance with normal procedures. Other paid or unpaid leave granted during the absence due to personal illness or injury does not break continuity for the 52 week period under this paragraph. Absence due to illness or injury after 52 weeks continuous absence may be granted as leave without pay and will not count as service for any purpose.
- Where an employee has exhausted all paid personal leave and continues to be absent on personal illness or injury, they may access available annual and long service leave credits. Any such leave granted will not break continuity for the purposes of paragraph 22. Before long service leave is granted, a report on the employee’s state of health may be obtained from the Department’s health services provider.
- Where an employee has been absent continuously due to illness for more than 52 weeks and subsequently wishes to return to duty, the employee must first be examined by the Department’s health services provider to confirm his/her fitness for duty.
Personal leave for domestic and/or family violence purposes
- Employees who are affected by domestic and/or family violence are entitled to access their personal leave entitlements for reasons relating to domestic and/or family violence, such as:
- attending medical or counselling appointments;
- seeking and moving into emergency and more permanent accommodation;
- attending dispute resolution or court proceedings;
- attending police appointments;
- accessing legal advice;
- organising alternative care and educational arrangements for their dependents; and
- any other circumstances associated with domestic and/or family violence.
- Personal leave approved for caring purposes in relation to domestic and/or family violence, such as organising alternative care and educational arrangements for dependents, should be applied for as carer’s leave (illness/injury) or carer’s leave (emergency), whichever is appropriate.
- Personal leave approved for domestic and/or family violence affecting the employee directly should be applied for as personal illness or injury.
- Where an employee requires additional leave as a result of domestic and/or family violence and they have exhausted all paid personal leave credits, employees may access paid miscellaneous leave in accordance with paragraphs 34 to 36 below.
- Compassionate leave may be used in addition to personal leave.
Community service leave
- Eligible community service activities are defined at subsection 109(1) of the Fair Work Act 2009 as:
- jury service (including attendance for jury selection) that is required by or under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory; or
- a voluntary emergency management activity (defined in detail at subsections 109(2) and (3) of the Fair Work Act 2009 and involving dealing with an emergency or disaster as a member of a recognised emergency management body); or
- an activity prescribed in the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (no such activities have been prescribed at this date).
- An employee who wishes to access community service leave must provide their employing Member with notice of the absence for community service activities as soon as practicable before or after the leave has started and advise the employing Member of the period, or expected period, of absence.
- Where an employee, other than a casual employee, undertakes jury service, the employee must provide evidence to the Department:
- that the employee has taken all necessary steps to obtain any amount of jury service pay to which the employee is entitled; and
- of the total amount (even if it is a nil amount) of jury service pay that has been paid, or is payable to the employee for the period.
Where the above evidence is not provided, the employee will not be paid community service leave. Where the evidence is provided, the employee’s pay will be reduced by the total amount of jury service pay that has been paid or is payable.
- An application for community service leave must include evidence that the employee is engaging in an eligible community service activity.
- Under clause 49.1 of the Enterprise Agreement:
- Defence Force Service means enlistment or training (including Reserves, but excluding Australian Army, Navy and Air Force Cadets);
- participation in major international multi-disciplinary sporting events means as a competitor representing Australia or as an accredited official at an event such as the Olympic or Commonwealth Games;
- courses of study approved under clause 67.3 of the Enterprise Agreement generally means those courses approved under the studies assistance provisions. Computer systems training, the Professional Development Program and ad hoc training are regarded as time on duty;
- war service sick leave means leave for returned service personnel for various medical or review purposes under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986;
- political exchange leave means participation as a delegate on a Political Exchange Program;
- special purposes leave approved by the Department includes the following circumstances (subject to the stated time limits):
Reason for leave request Reasonable period of absence Moving house, including approved relocations between localities 1 day Graduation ceremony for approved course of study 1 day Attend funeral of family member, close relative or friend 1 day Attending to duties and other arrangements relating to the death of a family member, close relative or friend, e.g. an executor of a will 2 days Flooding or other natural disasters up to 3 days Domestic and/or family violence As required (where paid personal leave credits are exhausted)
- Where the employing Member considers there are other circumstances where it may be appropriate to approve miscellaneous special purposes leave, or where the duration of such leave exceeds the periods described above, the approval is subject to the agreement of the relevant Entitlements Manager.
- An application for miscellaneous leave must state the reason for the leave, and appropriate supporting evidence or explanation must be attached to the application form. An employee who accesses miscellaneous leave for domestic and/or family violence may state ‘personal circumstances’ as the reason for the leave on the leave application form.
Leave for workplace relations training
- Leave for workplace relations training is at full pay.
- Applications for workplace relations training leave should be approved by the employing Member and submitted to the Department as soon as possible before the course or seminar occurs, and must be accompanied by sufficient evidence to satisfy the Department that the employee will be attending the course or seminar, i.e. a course booking receipt.
- The entitlement to leave for workplace relations training is not subject to pro rata for part-time employees.
Long service leave
- An employee must have 10 years of qualifying service before becoming eligible for long service leave.
- Long service leave accrues at the rate of 3/10ths of a month for each year of eligible service. This means that after 10 years eligible service, an employee will have accrued three months long service leave. Long service leave continues to accrue at the rate of 3/10ths of a month for each year of eligible service after 10 years.
- Long service leave is granted in calendar days (i.e. including weekends and public holidays that fall between the start and the end of the leave).
- Periods of long service leave may not be broken by other paid leave, although other paid leave may be used at either or both ends of a period of long service leave.
- Employees ceasing Commonwealth employment after at least 10 years eligible service receive payment in lieu of unused long service leave.
- Employees who are 55 years and over and have at least 12 months eligible service receive pro rata payment in lieu of long service leave upon cessation of employment.
- Where the employment of an employee with less than 10 years service, but at least 12 months eligible service, ceases due to retrenchment or ill health, they will receive pro rata payment in lieu of long service leave. Retrenchment includes any termination of employment due to the operation of the MOP(S) Act.
- The Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973 (the Act) does not apply to employees who do not have an entitlement to paid personal leave (i.e. casual employees).
- The Act provides for a maximum period of absence of 52 weeks.
- Under the Act, a person is required to commence maternity leave six weeks before the expected birth of the child. However, subject to the treating doctor providing written advice to the Department that the employee is fit to continue normal duties, the employing Member may permit the employee to defer the start of the required absence to the date specified by the treating doctor. The employee is then required to be absent for a period of six weeks commencing on the date of the birth.
- Where the child is born earlier than six weeks before the expected date of birth, the required absence commences on the date of birth and continues for six weeks. In this case, the 52 week period of maternity leave absence commences from the date of birth.
- With the permission of the employing Member, the employee may resume duty before the end of the required absence, subject to providing written advice from the treating doctor that the employee is fit to do so.
- The Act provides that an eligible employee is entitled to full pay for the first 12 weeks of absence, or such lesser period that is taken. The Enterprise Agreement provides employees entitled to paid maternity leave under the Act with an additional four weeks paid leave to be taken immediately following the period of paid maternity leave provided under the Act. This provides a maximum of 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.
- To be eligible to receive paid maternity leave, an employee must have at least 12 months continuous eligible Commonwealth service. Please note that service during which the employee was not entitled to personal leave is not eligible service for this purpose, e.g. periods during which a loading in lieu of leave was paid.
- The Enterprise Agreement allows maternity leave to be taken on a half pay basis as an administrative arrangement. Where the leave is taken on half pay, only the first half of the leave will count as service, the second half of the leave is treated as maternity leave without pay and will not count as service.
- If the employee does not have 12 months continuous eligible service, the employee is still subject to the Act and must absent herself from duty during the required absence period. The absence will be without pay but will count as service for all purposes. If the employee completes 12 months continuous eligible service during the first 16 weeks of maternity leave, the employee is entitled to payment for the period between the completion of the qualifying period and the end of the first 16 weeks.
- By default, leave taken after the first 16 weeks and during the maximum 52 week absence allowed by the Act is maternity leave without pay and does not count as service for any purpose. However, where available, other paid leave (e.g. annual leave or long service leave), can be taken instead and such leave will count as service for all purposes. During this period, if personal leave is used on account of the ill health of or injury to the employee, a medical certificate from the treating doctor stating the employee is unfit for duty and indicating the condition from which the employee is suffering must be provided to the Department.
- Applications for maternity leave should be submitted to the Department as soon as possible (at least three months prior to the expected date of birth) and must be accompanied by a written statement from the treating doctor specifying the expected date of birth. Upon receiving the application, the Department will provide written advice to the employee of her entitlements, period(s) of required and maximum absences, impact on superannuation contributions and other related matters.
- If an employee’s employment is terminated while on paid maternity leave, or within the period commencing six weeks prior to the expected date of birth (but before the commencement of maternity leave), the employee may be entitled to receive a payment in lieu of the remaining paid maternity leave in certain circumstances in accordance with clauses 52.5 and 52.6 of the Enterprise Agreement. This payment will be reduced by any subsequent entitlement to paid maternity leave with another employer, e.g. if the employee is an APS employee and continues to be entitled to paid maternity leave under the Act in relation to the APS employment.
The Paid Parental Leave Scheme
- The PPL Scheme administered by DHS provides eligible employees who are the primary carers of children born or adopted from 1 January 2011 with up to 18 weeks of parental leave pay at the National Minimum Wage.
- Parental leave pay is not a leave entitlement, but a payment made to an eligible employee while that employee is on leave.
- The employee may be on any form of paid or unpaid leave, including maternity leave under the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973 while in receipt of payments under the PPL Scheme. If the employee is on paid leave, parental leave pay will be paid in addition to the employee’s normal pay. Applications for paid and unpaid leave for the period of parental leave pay should be made in the normal way applying to the particular leave type.
- Applications for the PPL Scheme must be submitted to DHS. Employees can apply for the PPL Scheme or obtain further information:
- Upon receiving an application, DHS will assess eligibility against a number of criteria including Australian residency status, relationship status, relationship to the newborn or recently adopted child, a Paid Parental Leave work test, and the employee’s individual adjusted taxable income received in the previous financial year. DHS advises the Department when an employee is eligible for the PPL Scheme.
- Applications for the PPL Scheme can be submitted to DHS by the primary carer up to three months in advance of the child’s expected date of birth or adoption. Employees are encouraged to apply to DHS at their earliest convenience to ensure that payments can be processed from the nominated date after the child’s birth or adoption.
Payment of parental leave pay
- Employees are paid parental leave pay through the usual pay process administered by the Department. Parental leave pay is subject to tax and does not count as salary for superannuation purposes.
- Parental leave pay is paid for a maximum of 18 weeks, which must be taken in a continuous block. The entitlement to parental leave pay ceases on the child’s first birthday or one year from the date of adoption.
- If an employee returns to work or ceases employment during the 18 week payment block, parental leave pay will cease from that date. In some cases, the unused period of parental leave pay may be transferred to another carer who meets the eligibility criteria. Employees who decide to return to work before the end of the 18 week period must notify the Department and DHS as soon as possible to avoid any overpayments. Any overpayment is a debt owed by the employee to the Commonwealth and will be recovered in accordance with clause 35 of the Enterprise Agreement.
Participation in workplace activities while receiving PPL Scheme payments
- The PPL scheme includes a ‘keeping in touch’ provision. This provision allows an employee to undertake paid work on a day, provided:
- the purpose of performing the work is to enable the person to keep in touch with his or her employment in order to facilitate a return to that employment after the end of the period of leave (activities such as training days, planning days and conferences would meet this requirement – a keeping in touch day is not intended to enable an employee to perform their normal duties); and
- both the person and the employer consent to the person performing work for the employer on that day; and
- the day is not within 14 days after the child was born.
- An employee is allowed 10 ‘keeping in touch’ days. Paid work is work of one hour or more on a day. Work undertaken under this provision will not be considered a return to work for the purposes of the PPL scheme.
- Where an employee exceeds the 10 day limit, the employee is considered to have returned to work and parental leave pay will cease from that date.
- An employee will be paid their usual salary in addition to any payments under the PPL Scheme for the hours worked on a ‘keeping in touch’ day. To enable payment, the employing Member, or an authorised person of the employing Member, must notify the Department via the Staff Help Desk by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hours of work on a ‘keeping in touch’ day are treated as hours of duty and are counted towards the accrual of leave entitlements, including annual leave and personal leave. Employer superannuation payments and, in some cases, employee superannuation payments will also be payable. As a ‘keeping in touch’ day is work, it will break the period of approved paid or unpaid leave in which it occurs.
- Example 1: Wendy has a due date of 1 September. Wendy applies for 16 weeks of paid maternity leave commencing six weeks before the expected birth followed by 18 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.
- Wendy applies to DHS to access the PPL scheme and receive parental leave pay for the 18 week period of her unpaid maternity leave. This provides Wendy with 16 weeks of paid maternity leave under the Enterprise Agreement at her usual salary and then 18 weeks of parental leave pay at the National Minimum Wage.
- Example 2: Anna has a due date of 1 July. Anna applies for 32 weeks of paid maternity leave at half pay commencing two weeks before the expected date of birth. Anna also applies to take 12 weeks of annual leave at half pay.
- Anna applies to DHS to access the PPL scheme and receive parental leave pay for 18 weeks from the commencement of her paid maternity leave. Anna is paid half her usual salary plus parental leave pay at the National Minimum Wage for the first 18 weeks of her paid maternity leave. She is then paid half her usual salary for the remaining 14 weeks of her paid maternity leave and a further 12 weeks at half pay for her annual leave.
Dad and Partner Pay
- DAPP is administered by DHS and provides eligible employees who are the father or partner caring for a child born or adopted from 1 January 2013 with up to two weeks of parental leave pay at the National Minimum Wage.
- DAPP is not a leave entitlement, but a payment made by DHS to an employee assessed as being eligible while that employee is on unpaid leave.
- DAPP can be taken any time in the first year after birth or adoption.
- The employee must not be on any form of paid leave and must not work while in receipt of DAPP. Applications for unpaid leave, such as unpaid parental leave or leave without pay, should be made to cover the DAPP period.
- Applications for DAPP must be submitted to DHS. Employees can apply for DAPP or obtain further information:
- at any DHS Service Centre across Australia;
- online at www.humanservices.gov.au; or
- by contacting DHS on 13 61 50.
- Upon receiving an application, DHS will assess eligibility against a number of criteria including Australian residency status, relationship to the newborn or recently adopted child, a work test, and the employee’s individual adjusted taxable income received in the previous financial year.
- Applications for DAPP can be submitted to DHS by the applicant only and up to three months in advance of the child’s expected date of birth or adoption. Employees are encouraged to apply to DHS at their earliest convenience to ensure that payments can be processed from the nominated date after the child’s birth or adoption.
Payment of DAPP
- Employees are paid DAPP directly by DHS as a one-off payment. DAPP is taxable income and does not count as salary for superannuation purposes.
- DAPP is paid for a maximum of two weeks. DAPP ceases on the child’s first birthday or one year from the date of adoption. In order to receive the full two weeks payment, the DAPP start date, and therefore the commencement date of unpaid leave, needs to be within 50 weeks of the child’s birth or adoption.
- If an employee returns to work or ceases employment during the two week DAPP period (in which the employee must be on unpaid leave), the DAPP one-off payment may be required to be amended by DHS. Employees who return to work or cease employment before the end of the two week DAPP period must notify DHS as soon as possible.
- Paid adoption leave is available to eligible employees in accordance with clause 53 of the Enterprise Agreement.
- To be eligible to receive paid adoption leave, an employee must have at least 12 months continuous eligible Commonwealth service. Note that service during which the employee was not entitled to personal leave is not eligible service for this purpose, e.g. periods during which a loading in lieu of leave was paid.
- There is no entitlement to unpaid adoption leave under the Enterprise Agreement. An employee may access the unpaid parental leave provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 or apply for leave without pay. An employee may also apply to use annual or long service leave, if available. Other paid leave may not be used to substitute for the paid adoption leave or to extend the period of 16 weeks of paid adoption leave.
- Applications for adoption leave should be submitted to the Department as soon as possible prior to the adoption, and must be accompanied by sufficient evidence to satisfy the Department that an adoption has occurred or will occur, and to satisfy the provisions of the leave, such as the age of the child.
Supporting partner leave
- For the purpose of supporting partner leave for adoption, the adopted child must meet the requirements set out at clause 53.2 of the Enterprise Agreement.
- In the circumstance that the partner of an employee gives birth to more than one child or adopts more than one child at a point in time, the employee is only entitled to two weeks of supporting partner leave.
- Supporting partner leave can be accessed on a periodic basis, e.g. two business days for five weeks.
- Supporting partner leave is at full pay only.
- Applications for supporting partner leave must be accompanied by sufficient evidence to satisfy the Department that a birth or adoption will occur or has occurred.
Leave without pay
- An employing Member may approve leave without pay for reasons including, but not limited to:
- parental leave (as provided under the Fair Work Act 2009);
- ceremonial leave; and
- observance of religious holidays.
- Leave without pay for ceremonial purposes may be granted to an employee of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent for ceremonial purposes connected with the death of a member of the immediate or extended family or for other ceremonial obligations under Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law.
- In considering requests for leave without pay, an employing Member should take into account matters such as the reason for the request, the effect on the operations of the workplace, and the employee’s length of service.
- Leave without pay does not count as service for any purpose. However, leave without pay of any type (including the second half of a period of maternity leave at half pay), of 30 calendar days or less, in an accrual year does not affect the accrual of leave. Any unauthorised absence (an absence not covered by approved leave) of at least one day in an accrual year will affect the accrual of leave. Leave without pay may also affect eligibility for salary increments and retention payments in accordance with the Enterprise Agreement.
- An application for leave without pay must state the reason for the leave.
- Employees who are temporarily working away from their work base observe any public holidays applicable to the temporary location and/or observe any public holidays at their work base which may occur during that period in accordance with clause 57.1 of the Enterprise Agreement.
- No payment is made for public holidays occurring during leave without pay. However, employees will be paid for a public holiday where a period of leave without pay ceases prior to a public holiday (or consecutive public holidays) or where a period of leave without pay commences immediately after a public holiday. For the purposes of this paragraph, the public holidays from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day inclusive are regarded as consecutive.
- Public holidays during annual or personal leave are not deducted from leave credits.
- Where an employee is absent on both the day before and the day after a public holiday, the public holiday is paid at the same rate as that of the leave. Where different rates of pay apply before and after the public holiday, the public holiday is paid at the higher rate. For example, if absent on annual leave at half pay on the day before a public holiday and on leave without pay the day after the public holiday, then the public holiday is paid at half pay.
- The dates of state-wide and national public holidays to be observed in each location will be posted on the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services website prior to the commencement of each calendar year.
Annual close down
- An annual closedown on the business days that fall between Christmas Day and New Years Day is available to eligible employees in accordance with clause 57.2 of the Enterprise Agreement.
- Where an employee accesses paid time off for ordinary hours worked during the annual closedown in accordance with clause 57.4 of the Enterprise Agreement, the paid time off is taken at full pay and cannot equal more hours than the ordinary hours worked during the annual closedown. Employees are not required to submit a leave application in relation to this paid time off.