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Leave entitlements in Western Australia

On this page:

• Minimum entitlements  
• Annual leave  
• Sick leave   
• Carer’s leave  
• Bereavement leave  
• Parental leave  
• Long service leave  
• Jury service  
• Defence reserve service  
• Calculate annual leave, sick leave and long service leave  
• Exclusions  

This information is for people in the Western Australian industrial relations system. If you do not know if it is relevant to you, read our information on who is in the Western Australian system.

Minimum entitlements

The Minimum Conditions of Employment Act 1993 (MCE Act) sets out the guaranteed minimum entitlements to annual leave, sick leave, carer’s leave, unpaid parental leave, and bereavement leave.  These minimum leave entitlements apply to employment in the Western Australian industrial relations system, however some categories of employees are not covered by the MCE Act - see Exclusions.

In addition to the leave entitlements in the MCE Act, employees are entitled to:

  1. long service leave; and
  2. be absent from work to undertake jury service and defence reserve service.

Annual leave

Full time and part time employees are entitled to four weeks annual leave each year, based on the number of hours worked, up to a maximum of 152 hours per year. 

Annual leave accrues on a pro rata basis each week. A full time employee working 38 hours per week accrues 2.923 hours of annual leave for each completed week of service. A part time employees accrues annual leave pro rata on a weekly basis.

Use Wageline’s annual leave calculation guide to calculate annual leave entitlements for full time and part time employees.

When can an employee take annual leave?

Generally annual leave is taken by agreement. If you agree, employees do not have to complete 12 months of service before they take annual leave.

An employer cannot refuse an employee’s request for annual leave that has been accrued for more than 12 months, as long as the employee gives 2 weeks notice.

Payment for annual leave

An employee must be paid their current rate of pay when annual leave is taken.  There is no minimum entitlement to overtime, penalties or allowances while employees are on leave.  Some awards may require some allowances to continue being paid, so check your award or call Wageline on 1300 655 266.

Annual leave loading

Annual leave loading is not a minimum entitlement. Many employees covered by awards and agreements are entitled to annual leave loading (usually 17.5%) when they take leave – check your award or contact Wageline to find out.

Cashing out leave

Employers and employees who are not covered by an award or agreement can agree to cash out some annual leave.

After an employee has been employed for a year, an employer and an employee can reach an agreement that up to 50% of the employee’s annual leave can be cashed out for an equivalent benefit (usually cash). Such agreements must be in writing.

Employers cannot offer someone employment based on them agreeing to trade off annual leave or pressure anyone into cashing out leave.

Some awards and agreements allow for cashing out of annual leave– check your award or call Wageline.

Unused annual leave

Unused annual leave builds up from year to year.  Unused annual leave must generally be paid out to an employee when their employment ends, including pro rata annual leave for a partially completed year of service. Pro rata leave may not need to be paid out if an employee fails to give the required notice when they leave, or is dismissed due to serious misconduct.

Sick leave

Full time and part time employees are entitled to paid sick leave equal up to the number of hours they ordinarily work in a two week period - up to 76 hours per year.  Some awards and agreements provide employees with more sick leave. 

Unused sick leave is ‘cumulative’ which means that any that is not used in one year is available for employees to take the next year, or any year after.  Unused sick leave usually does not have to be paid out when employment ends.

Employers can request reasonable proof of illness when sick leave is taken. Sick leave can be taken in part days.

Use Wageline’s sick leave calculation guide for calculating the sick leave entitlement for full time and part time employees.

Carer’s leave

Sick leave can be used for personal illness or injury or as carer’s leave for caring for a family member who is sick or injured.

Only 10 days per year can be taken as carer’s leave, even if the employee has more sick leave available. If the 10 day entitlement is unavailable or has been used, employees (including casuals) are entitled to take up to two days unpaid carer’s leave for each occasion that a family or household member needs care.

Employers can request reasonable proof of illness when sick / carer’s leave is taken.  Carer’s leave can be taken in part days.

Bereavement leave

All employees are entitled to up to two days paid bereavement leave on the death of a family or household member.  A family or household member may include:

  1. a spouse or de facto partner; 
  2. child, parent; 
  3. sibling; 
  4. grandparent; 
  5. grandchild; or 
  6. any other person, who immediately before that person’s death, lived with the employee as a member of the employee’s family. 

Casual employees are also entitled to paid bereavement leave.

The two days of bereavement leave do not have to be taken consecutively. Bereavement leave cannot be taken during any other type of leave.

Employers can request reasonable proof of the death and the relationship of the employee to the deceased person.

Parental leave

Unpaid parental leave

Full time and part time employees are entitled to 52 weeks unpaid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child, if they have completed at least 12 months continuous service with an employer.
Casual employees are entitled to unpaid parental leave if they have:

  1. worked for their employer for 12 continuous months and reasonably expected that they would have kept working for their employer if they had not been expecting a child; or
  2. regularly and systematically worked for their employer for a sequence of periods totalling at least 12 months, with breaks between each period of employment. However, the break must have been initiated by their employer and must have been no longer than three months. The employee must also have reasonably expected that they would have kept working for their employer if they had not been expecting a child.

On ending unpaid parental leave, an employee is entitled to return to the employee’s pre-parental leave position. If that position no longer exists, the employee is entitled to a job for which they are qualified and suited nearest in status and pay to their pre-parental leave position.

An employee is not entitled to return to the job they had before they started parental leave if they were only acting or working temporarily in that job.

Paid parental leave pay

In addition to unpaid parental leave, employees may be eligible for the Commonwealth Government’s paid parental leave scheme, which provides 18 weeks of paid parental leave pay at the national minimum wage for the birth or adoption of a child after 1 January 2011.
The Commonwealth’s paid parental leave scheme is in addition to and does not affect an employee’s entitlement to unpaid parental leave.

Refer to the Wageline factsheet Parental Leave for further information.

Long service leave

A Western Australian employee’s entitlement to long service leave is provided by the Long Service Leave Act 1958. Long service leave is generally 8 2/3 weeks of paid leave after 10 continuous years of service.

There are many rules and requirements for long service leave. Wageline has a long service leave fact sheet to help you understand this entitlement that can be viewed here

Use Wageline’s long service leave calculation guide for calculating the long service leave entitlement for full time, part time and casual employees.

For more information on long service leave contact Wageline on 1300 655 266.

Jury service

An employer must pay an employee who is required to attend court as either a juror or witness.

An employer may apply to the Sheriff’s Office to be reimbursed for the wages paid to an employee during a period of jury duty. Claim forms are provided to employees on completion of jury leave.

For further information contact Jury Services on 9425 2481.

Jury Services
District Court Building
Level 2 500 Hay Street
PERTH  WA  6000
Court and Tribunal Services - www.dotag.wa.gov.au/juryduty

Defence reserve service

The federal Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001 makes it an offence for an employer to dismiss or otherwise disadvantage an employee for undertaking Reserve service.

Under the Act it is mandatory for employers to release employees who are members of the Reserve to undertake defence service, including defence service training.

Employers are not obliged to pay reservists during their absence. Reservists can request to use their leave entitlements during the period of absence, but they cannot be compelled to do so.

The Office of Reserve Service Protection provides advice on:

  1. legal obligations and entitlements;  
  2. complaints from reservists; and  
  3. negotiating workable solutions to Defence Force requirements.

Employers and Reservists can also call the Defence Reserves Support hotline on 1800 803 485.

Annual leave, sick leave and long service leave calculation sheets

You can use Wageline’s leave calculation sheets for calculating the annual, sick and long service leave entitlements for full time and part time employees.

A Guide to Calculating Annual Leave [PDF, 70 KB]  

A Guide to Calculating Sick Leave [PDF, 68 KB]  

A Guide to Calculating Long Service Leave [PDF, 88 KB]  

Exclusions

Certain types of employees are excluded from the leave provisions of the Minimum Conditions of Employment Act.  However, these types of employees may be covered by an award or agreement that provides a leave entitlement. These exclusions are:

  1. disabled persons working in a supported employment service;   
  2. persons paid wholly by commission or piece rates (per item); 
  3. volunteers; and 
  4. persons appointed under the National Trust of Australia (WA) Act 1964 as wardens.