Sick and carer’s leave entitlements

This page is for: 
EmployerEmployee / worker

wa_image_small.jpg This information is only relevant to employers and employees in the WA state industrial relations system – sole traders, unincorporated partnerships, unincorporated trusts and some incorporated or not for profit organisations.  Find out more on the Guide to who is in the WA state system page.

If you operate or are employed by a Pty Ltd business – you can find information on this topic on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

About this page:

  • This page provides general information on sick leave entitlements based on the minimum entitlements for employees. 
  • WA awards may specify additional requirements relating to payment for sick leave and how and when sick leave is taken by employees. Visit the WA award summaries page for information on award requirements. 

Who is entitled to sick leave and carer's leave?

Full time and part time employees are entitled to paid sick leave. Casuals are not entitled to paid sick leave, but can access unpaid carer’s leave. Employees who are not covered by a WA award, and who are paid solely by commission or piece rate are not entitled to paid sick leave.

What can sick leave and carer's leave be used for?

Sick leave entitles an employee to paid time off work for either sickness or injury to themselves (sick leave), or because they have to care for a sick or injured family member (carer’s leave).

If the employee is not able to work because of illness or injury to themselves, or because they have to take care of a member of their family or household who is injured or ill, they are entitled to take paid time off work depending upon their actual entitlement.

A member of the family or household means any of the following people:

  • the employee’s spouse or de facto partner
  • a child, step child or grandchild of the employee (including an adult child, step child or grandchild)
  • a parent, step parent or grandparent of the employee
  • a sibling of the employee
  • any other person who, at or immediately before the relevant time lived with the employee as a member of the employee’s household.

Employees can take sick leave in either whole or part days depending upon the particular circumstances.

How much sick leave do employees get?

Full time and part time employees are entitled to paid sick leave equivalent to the number of hours they would ordinarily work in a two week period – up to a maximum of 76 hours per year.

Sick leave is a cumulative entitlement, which means that any unused sick leave is carried over and added to the next year’s entitlement.

How much carer’s leave do employees get?

A full time or part time employee is entitled to use paid sick leave to care for a member of their family or household who is injured or ill.

In the first year of employment, a full time or part time employee can use any paid sick leave that he or she has accrued to date for caring purposes.

In the second and subsequent years of employment, a full time employee can only use a maximum of 76 hours of their accrued sick leave entitlement for caring purposes, or a part time employee the relevant proportion of 76 hours based on their ordinary hours of work.

An employee is entitled to up to two days of unpaid carer’s leave per occasion if an employee does not have sufficient paid leave accrued or has exceed the maximum amount of carer’s leave that can be taken in any 12 month period.

Casual employees can access up to two days unpaid carer's leave per occasion. 

How is sick leave calculated?

Sick leave accrues on a weekly basis and can be calculated based on how many weeks an employee has worked - For example:

  • a full time employee accrues 1.461 hours of sick leave for each completed week of work (based on the standard 38 hour week)
  • a part time employee will accrue the relevant proportion of 1.461 hours of sick leave for each completed week of work, based on how many hours they have worked that week.

Wageline's Sick leave calculation guide provides an overview of how to work out sick leave entitlements for full time and part time employees. 

Can an employee’s accrued sick leave be cleared if they don’t use it with a year?

No. Sick leave is a cumulative entitlement which means that if the employee does not use up their full entitlement in any one year, the leftover portion is carried over and added to the next year’s entitlement.

Do employees have to provide a medical certificate when taking sick leave?

An employer can require an employee to provide reasonable evidence before they are paid for any time off work on sick leave or carer’s leave.

Reasonable evidence may include a medical certificate, but is not necessarily limited to this – for example if the employee comes to work with a cast on their arm, or the employer actually sent an employee home because they looked ill, or the employer was present when the employee received a phone call to pick up their child up from school due to illness, then any of these examples could count as reasonable evidence.

What happens if the employee has run out of sick leave - do they still have to be paid if they call in sick?

In most circumstances, if an employee has used up all of their sick leave then they are not entitled to be paid for any further time they have off work for illness, injury or carer’s leave. There are a limited number of WA awards that provide for annual leave to be used in situations where sick leave has been exhausted.  

What records does an employer need to keep?

An employer must keep records of all sick leave and carers leave taken. All state system employers are legally required to keep employment records - Visit the Employment records - Employer obligations page for details. 

question_mark_icon.jpg  Please contact Wageline if you have further questions about sick leave obligations.



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