The HR Advisor

Personal Leave: Q&A

Q. “What is Personal Leave?”
A.  Personal Leave can be used for two reasons:

  • If an employee is unwell and unable to work (“Sick leave”) or
  • If a member of the employee’s immediate family or household is unwell and this person depends on the employee for care (“Carers leave”).

Q. “Who is covered under ‘immediate family’?”  
A. An employee’s spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee’s spouse/ de facto partner are covered.  Uncles, aunties, cousins and any other family members are not covered unless they live with the employee.

Q. “Do employees receive their 10 days Personal Leave upon commencement?”
A. Personal Leave accumulates over the year depending upon hours worked.  So after 12 months, full time employees will have accrued 10 days leave, while part time employees will have accrued a pro rata amount.

Q. “Does an employee have to bring a certificate if they are unwell?”
A. The answer depends on your policy.  If there is no written policy, think about what might be reasonable for your company.  Whether it is when an employee has been away for longer than 3 days?  Or either side of a public holiday?  Or either side of a weekend?  Once you have decided what you think is fair and reasonable, communicate this clearly to your employees.

Q. “Do employees have to let you know they will be away on Personal Leave?” 
A. Yes!  Simply not turning up one day is not reasonable.  An employer has a duty of care for employees that can not be satisfied if you don’t know where your employee is.

Q. “How do employees let you know they are going to be away?  Do they have to call?”
A. No – but it is best practice.  Having a phone conversation enables you to alter work arrangements, determine how long the employee may be away and whether you need to make alternative staffing arrangements and for you to offer any support that may be needed.

Q. “When should they notify you?” 
A. As soon as possible – at a minimum before starting time.

Q. “What if an employee has no paid sick accrued or they don’t supply a certificate when requested?” 
A. The absence would be processed as unpaid leave.  We would recommend informing employees of this prior to pay day.

Topics: HR Advice