Managing sick or carer's leave
All employees can take paid sick or carer’s leave unless they are a casual employee or a contractor.
Your employees might need to take sick or carer’s leave when they:
- have a personal illness or injury
- are stressed
- are pregnant, or have a pregnancy related illness
- need to support an immediate family member who is sick, injured or has an unexpected emergency
- require compassionate leave, sometimes called bereavement leave, for events such as attending a funeral.
What do I need to know as an employer?
All employees are covered by the national workplace relations system under the Fair Work Act 2009.
Here are some of the key details:
- Know your employees’ entitlements
- full time employees get 10 days each year of sick or carer’s leave.
- part time employees get pro rata of 10 days each year of sick or carer’s leave—this depends on their hours of work.
- casual employees or contractors do not get any sick or carer’s leave.
- Pay your employee their base rate of pay for the ordinary hours they would have worked during the period.
- As an employer, you can ask an employee to give evidence to confirm why they have been away from work at any time, however you might have a specific policy about when certificates are required (e.g. if the period of leave is more than one business day). Remind your employees that a medical certificate doesn't have to give exact details about the injury or illness.
- An employee can take an extended period of unpaid sick leave. The Fair Work Ombudsman has more information on long periods of sick leave and unpaid carer's leave.
Tip: Business owners get sick too, so it’s a good idea to cover yourself for accident and sickness insurance through a private insurer. This policy will compensate you for loss of revenue while you recover. Read more about this in our insurance topic.
- Learn how flexible working arrangements can help your employees achieve a work-life balance and benefit your business.
- Use our Taking on an employee checklist to guide you through federal and state requirements that may apply when you become an employer.
- Use the leave calculator on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website to find sick and carers’ leave amounts.
- Read more about the Fair Work Commission and how it applies in your state or territory.