A recent Full Federal Court decision handed down on 21 August 2019 confirmed that all employees (including part-time employees) are entitled to  10 "working days" of personal/carer's leave per year under the Fair Work Act, regardless of how many hours the employees work per day or how many days are worked per week.

The decision will have wide-ranging implications for employers, the overwhelming majority of whom do not presently accrue personal/carer's leave in this manner.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR EMPLOYERS
Most payroll systems accrue personal/carer's leave on an hourly basis. Rather than expressing an employee's leave entitlement in days or weeks, payroll software tends to record the accrual as an hourly amount (with 7.6 hours often reflecting one day's accrual).

Most payroll systems tend to accrue 76 hours of personal/carer's leave per year for full time employees, and a pro-rata amount for part-time employees.

If your payroll system works in this way, you will need to ensure that:

  • 12 hour shift workers either accrue 120 hours of personal/carer's leave per year (instead of 76) or, alternatively, only have 7.6 hours leave deducted from the personal/carer's leave balance, yet pay the shift worker for the entire shift whenever they are absent from an entire 12 hour shift
  • similar treatment is afforded to other shift workers who work more than 7.6 ordinary hours in a day; and
  • part-time employees accrue a full 10 working days per year (as opposed to a pro-rated amount based on their shorter working week).