Navigating the minefield of your employment entitlements can be tricky and confusing. So what are you entitled to? We have put together a handy information sheet for you to make it a little clearer.
One of the many entitlements you have is Personal Leave. This takes on many names, essentially Personal Leave is leave that doesn’t fall under the category of Annual, Study or Parental Leave. Basically, Personal Leave is Sick or Carers leave.
Every Full & Part Time employee is entitled to 10 days of Personal Leave each year for Full Time employees and it accrues in a similar way to Annual Leave, only at a slower rate. Unused leave at the end of the year simply rolls over into the next. It should be noted that casual employees are not entitled to Personal Leave. This is because allowances are made for any Annual or Personal Leave in the hourly rate paid, which is not a consideration for Full Time Employees.
These are days an employee can abstain from work for reasons of ill health, injury or family emergency, including stress or pregnancy related illness and still be paid for the day as if they had attended the workplace. Employees can also use these days to care for an immediate family member who has fallen ill. For example, if you have a child who is sick, this is considered Carer’s leave and falls under the Personal Leave banner.
As an employee, you may take as many Personal Leave days as you have accumulated, and if the leave has run out, you may arrange with your employer to take further time out of Annual Leave or as unpaid leave. This is however at the discretion of your employer and you must be aware that they may opt for unpaid leave.
When accessing Personal Leave, generally an employer will require documentation supporting the Personal Leave and can ask that you provide evidence in the form of doctors note or medical certificate even if the leave was for one day. When an employee doesn’t provide an appropriate medical certificate or evidence; the employer reserves the right not to pay the Personal Leave.
In most cases, employers will look for evidence on a Monday, Friday, days either side of a Public Holiday or Annual Leave taken. What your employer expects is usually set out in a Workplace Policy or Registered Agreement, which will also stipulate the type of evidence required. In most cases, this is a medical certificate provided by a GP or Hospital depending on the seriousness of the illness and whom you sought medical treatment from.
In cases where medical appointments have been scheduled during working hours, these may not be able to be taken as Personal Leave unless you are unable to work due to the illness or injury. These are dependent on individual circumstances and the Employers policies. An employer may request evidence from you to confirm you were unfit for work. This can be used to determine the type of leave or entitlement that should be paid.
It is important to note that your rights under the Privacy Act remain intact. This means an Employer cannot attend medical appointments with you, unless you specifically request their attendance and they are not able to discuss any medical information with your doctor.
Currently, Personal Leave is not able to be cashed out, unlike Annual Leave, if your employment is terminated or you voluntarily leave. There are three awards that do allow for this to occur, however it is uncommon.
It is important to know your entitlements, and you can seek more information from the Fair Work Ombudsman where the information in this article was sourced.