The Christmas/New Year period is fast approaching which often means balancing the need to for services to remain open while accommodating leave requests. The key points in relation to managing leave requests and holiday staffing arrangements are below.

Annual leave starts accruing for full and part-time employees from when they start work and any unused leave rolls over from year to year. Full and part-time employees are entitled to 4 weeks of paid annual leave a year based on their ordinary hours of work. Casual employees aren’t entitled to annual leave.

It is recommended that your organisation has a leave policy which outlines how and when employees can make a request for leave. If there is already a policy in place, all decisions regarding leave applications should be made in accordance with those provisions. This will ensure that all leave requests are managed equitably and reduce the likelihood of disputes arising from the mismanagement of leave requests.
In some cases, and organisation will have a shutdown or closure over Christmas and New Year and an Award or Enterprise Agreement may permit an organisation to direct an employee to take annual leave during a Christmas Shutdown.

It is important to carefully review applicable industrial instruments to determine if this is relevant to your organisation, noting that the following Awards do not have the provision to direct staff to take leave during a shutdown such as Christmas:

  • Social Community Homecare and Disability Services Industry Award 2010
  • Aged Care Award 2010
  • Nurses Award 2010
  • Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010

Members are advised to ensure that all managers with delegation to approve leave applications are familiar with the relevant leave policy and /or clause in the industrial instrument.

In rare circumstances, an employee may have their leave application declined and yet continue with their planned absence from the workplace. In this circumstance, it is recommended that Members refer to their leave and/or disciplinary policies to consider what action is most appropriate to manage an unauthorised absence. In this situation, you are also encouraged to contact LASA’s Employment Relations team to discuss the most appropriate method to manage the unauthorised absence.

For further information, please contact ermailbox@lasa.asn.au or 1300 111 636.