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Types of Leave: Explaining the Differences

annual leave employee rights fair work family and domestic violence hr 101 leave and entitlements long service leave minimum entitlements paid leave parental leave personal leave western australia Oct 19, 2023

With so many types of leave out there, it's often hard to know what type of leave you can take for what. So, let us break it down for you!

Personal / Carer's Leave

This type of leave lets an employee take time off work to deal with:

- Personal illnesses

- Caring duties and responsibilities, or

- Emergencies

The entitlement:

  • Full-time employees are entitled to 10 sick days per year (pro-rata for part-time employees).
  • Employees can also take carer's leave (paid or unpaid) if they need to look after an immediate family or household member who is sick or injured.
  • Employees are entitled to 2 unpaid days of carer's leave per occasion - unpaid carer's leave can also be utilised if an employee has no paid or sick carer's leave left.
  • Personal / carer's leave accumulates for each year of service 
  • Casual employees are not entitled to paid personal / carer's leave
  • Leave for emergencies can be taken ONLY WHEN:
    • the emergency requires you to take care of an immediate family or household member, as per carer's leave provisions, OR:
    • you have been injured or are ill as a result of the emergency, as per personal leave provisions.
    • This means it is NOT for emergencies that don't require care or result in injury/illness to you. Unfortunately, plumbing or other utilities issues, car breakdowns etc do not meet this definition. 
      • Other leave types may be available such as:
        • Annual leave (with your Employer's approval)
        • TOIL (if your Employer has a policy to this effect)
        • Emergency services leave (if you meet this definition)
    • DV Leave is also available and is an additional leave entitlement to personal/carer's leave (see below).


Annual Leave

  • Full-time and part-time employees accrue annual leave, based on their ordinary hours of work.
  • Typically, a full-time employee will accrue 4 weeks of annual leave per year of service.
  • Casual employees do not accrue annual leave.
  • Good news for shift workers! Depending on the Award, they may get up to 5 weeks of annual leave per calendar year. The definition of shift worker changes between Awards, the NES and Enterprise Agreements - so ensure you have the right one for you.
  • Any unused annual leave will accumulate into the next year. 
  • CHECK: How much notice you need to give your employer to take annual leave. It's always best practice to check with your manager first before booking those flights to Europe! 
  • Depending on the award or agreement in place, employees may have the opportunity to cash out their annual leave.


Parental Leave

*As of 1 July 2023, these entitlements have recently changed.

  • Typically, parental leave will be unpaid (unless your Employer offers paid parental leave).
  • To be eligible for unpaid parental leave, permanent employees need to have worked for the employer for AT LEAST one year prior to the birth or adoption of the child.
  • Casual employees are also entitled to unpaid parental leave so long as they have worked regular and systematic hours for a minimum of 12 months AND there was a reasonable expectation of continuing work with the Employer on a regular and systematic basis had it not been for the birth or adoption of a child.
  • Unpaid parental leave (as offered by most employees) entitles an employee to 12 months of unpaid leave.
  • Government-funded parental leave entitles those who meet the requirements to a payment for up to 100 days, or 20 weeks, while you care for a child born or adopted from 1 July 2023 (this payment is based on the minimum wage at the time).


Compassionate & Bereavement Leave

 Part-time and full-time employees are entitled to 2 days of paid compassionate leave per occasion, for the following instances:

- To spend time with a members of their immediate family or household who has a life-threatening illness or injury; or

- After the death of a member of the employee's immediate family or household.

NOTE: Casual employees are also entitled to 2 days of UNPAID compassionate leave following the same circumstances.

Employees can take this leave on two consecutive days, two separate periods of one day each or any separate periods to which the employee and the Employer agree upon.


Long Service Leave (LSL)

LSL provisions vary per State. In WA, permanent and casual employees receive the following entitlements in accordance with the Long Service Leave Act 1958 (WA):

- After 10 years of 'continuous employment with the 'one and same employer' - employees receive 82/3 8.667 weeks of LSL on their ordinary pay.

- For every following 5 years of 'continuous employment' with the 'one and same employer' after the initial 10 years - employees receive 4.333 weeks of LSL on their ordinary pay.

 In most cases, employees will be entitled to LSL (pro-rata) if their employment is terminated after 7 years of continuous service.


Family & Domestic Violence Leave (FDV) 

Employees are able to take this type of leave to deal with the implications of FDV so long as they cannot be dealt with outside of work hours. These may include:

- Making arrangements for the employee's safety or the safety of a family member;

- Attending court hearings;

- Accessing police services;

- Attending counselling; or

- Attending appointments with medical, financial, or legal professionals.

The entitlement:

  • Employees are entitled to 10 full days of FDV leave from the day they commence work with their employer.
  • All employees (full-time, part-time, and casual) are entitled to FDV leave. Permanent employees will be paid their full rate for the ordinary hours they would have worked while casual will be paid for the hours they were rostered to work.
  • The 10 days renew each calendar year; however, any unused FDV leave does not accumulate over time.
  • Employees are able to take the 10 consecutive days at once, or singularly. 


The types of leave we've just discussed all form part of an employee's minimum entitlements under the National Employment Standards (click here for more information).

BUT - other types of leave do exist. For example, you might work for a company that offers wellness leave or birthday leave. These types of leave are all employee benefits, meaning your employer is generous enough to offer these, but is not obligated to do so.


If you're unsure if your employer offers any additional leave benefits, be sure to check your contract of employment or policies & procedures, as these will outline any additional entitlements. 


If you have any questions about your leave entitlements, please reach out to the Employii team at [email protected]


Author: Chelsea Finlay (HR Officer).