BlandsLaw - Blog posts from Leave Series
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While there is no general entitlement to unpaid leave under the Fair Work Act 2009, there are some provisions that deal with the question of when unpaid leave can be taken. In other cases it is a matter for agreement between the employer and employee.

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Personal or Carers Leave

Background and eligibility

Paid personal or carers leave isthe correct terminology for the phrase ‘sick leave’. All employees (other than casuals) are entitled to paid personal leave or paid carer’s leave, of 10 days per year. The entitlement to paid personal/carers leave accrues from year to year. Paid personal/carers leave is leave that is provided for an employee if, due to their own personal circumstances, they are sick or injured, or if they need to provide care or support to a member of their immediate family or household. The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) sets out who qualifies as a member of an employee’s immediate family. This definition encompasses a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of an employee; or a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee’s spouse or de facto partner.

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Annual Leave

Since 1973, a four (4) week annual leave period for the benefit of an employee has been standard practice, increasing from the initial one (1) week annual leave standard introduced in 1941. Today, annual leave entitlements now form part of the National Employment Standards (NES) providing a minimum safety net of employee entitlements.

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The entitlement to Long Service Leave (LSL) is contained in the National Employment Standards (NES). As of 1 January 2010 the NES applies to all employees covered by the national workplace relations system (national system employees)

There is currently no uniform national LSL standard, and the legislation governing LSL is contained in state Acts. For example, in NSW, LSL is governed by the Long Service Leave Act 1955 (NSW). Until a uniform national standard is developed, the state legislation needs to be read on conjunction with the NES.

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