We have simple information and free tools to help you understand leave.

By taking time to check the rules, you’ll save time in the long run. You’ll also get your employee leave information clear and correct.

Get leave right

Use the information on this page to understand leave entitlements and manage requests at work.

We recommend you:

  • Understand the essentials: read the information on this page to get the basics.
  • Get the full picture: use the links back to our main website if you want to know more.
  • Free and fast learning: consider free online learning to upskill in workplace issues – start with our 20-minute Workplace basics quiz.
  • Take the stress out: use our free tools and templates to take the stress out of managing leave.

Annual leave (holiday leave)

Annual leave is when an employee is paid while taking time off work. It’s also known as holiday pay.

Full-time / part-time (pro-rata)Casual
  • 4 weeks of paid annual leave per year
  • Leave starts accruing from first day of work
  • Unused leave rolls over from year to year
  • Not entitled to annual leave

Key points

  • Employers can only refuse a leave request if the refusal is reasonable.
  • An employer can direct an employee to take annual leave in certain circumstances (for example, during a shutdown).
  • Annual leave accumulates when an employee is on paid leave, such as annual leave or sick and carer’s leave.
  • It’s best practice to have a policy that makes it clear how and when employees can make an annual leave request.

Resources and tools

  • More information: check out our Annual leave section for information on taking or cancelling annual leave and managing these requests. If you want to understand when you can direct an employee to take leave, go to Directing an employee to take annual leave.
  • Calculator: use our Leave Calculator to calculate annual leave balances based on length of service.
  • Templates: explore our free downloadable templates for:
    • Notice of requirement to take annual leave
    • Notice of requirement to take annual leave for a shutdown
    • Direction to take excessive annual leave
  • Interactive templates: see our interactive template tool for creating custom templates to download one for:
    • Agreement to take annual leave in advance.
    • Notice of requirement to take annual leave.

Sick and carer’s leave

Sick and carer’s leave can be used when an employee:

  • is sick or injured, or
  • has to take time off to care for an immediate family or household member who is sick or injured or help during a family emergency.
Full-time / part-time (pro-rata)Casual
  • 10 days of paid sick and carer's leave each year.
  • Leave starts accruing from the first day of work.
  • Unused leave rolls over from year to year.
  • Can take 2 days of unpaid carer’s leave per occasion (but unpaid leave can’t be taken if paid leave is available)
  • Not entitled to paid sick or carer’s leave.
  • Can take 2 days of unpaid carer’s leave per occasion

Key points

  • Full-time or part-time employees are eligible for paid sick or carer’s leave
  • Casuals are eligible for 2 days unpaid carer’s leave.
  • An employer can request evidence if sick and carer’s leave is requested or taken, but some rules apply.
  • Employers can ask employees to provide evidence for as little as one day or less off work.

Resources and tools

Family and domestic violence leave

Family and domestic violence leave is a paid leave entitlement that enables an employee to take time off work to deal with family and domestic violence.

Key points

  • Paid family and domestic violence leave is a minimum leave entitlement. It’s separate from sick and carer’s leave.
  • 10 days are available upfront to employees and balances renew each work anniversary.
  • Full-time, part-time and casual employees are entitled to the same amount of paid family and domestic violence leave.
  • Unused leave doesn’t roll over from year to year.
  • You can ask for evidence to support the leave request, with some rules applying.
  • You need to follow strict rules for pay slips to protect employees taking this leave.

Resources and tools

Unpaid parental leave

Unpaid parental leave enables an employee to take time off work to care for a newborn or adopted child.

Full-time / part-time (pro-rata)Casual
  • Eligible if employee has worked for the employer for at least 12 months
  • If eligible, can take 12 months of unpaid parental leave for adoption or birth of child
  • Other eligible employees can also get parental leave when a child is born or adopted
  • Eligible for unpaid parental leave if:
    • have been working for their employer on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months
    • have 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.

Key points

  • If planning to take parental leave, an employee must give you required notice.
  • After taking parental leave, an employee has a right to return to their job.
  • Parental leave can be taken in a single continuous period or as a flexible period, with rules applying.
  • ‘Keeping in touch days’ are a good way for employees who are caring for a baby or newly adopted child to stay up to date with their workplace. This also includes refreshing their skills and assist their return to work.
  • Parental leave entitlements include:
    • maternity leave
    • paternity and partner leave
    • adoption leave
    • special Parental leave
    • a safe job and no safe job leave.

Resources and tools

Long service leave

Long service leave is a period of extended leave an employee gets after working for an employer for a long time.

Full-time / part-time (pro-rata)Casual
  • Usually set by state and territory long service leave laws
  • Entitlement can also come from older instruments, as pre-modern awards or registered agreements.
  • In some states and territories, long-serving casuals are eligible for long service leave.

Key points

Other leave

There are also other types of leave you might have to manage in the workplace. These include:

Use the information on our main website to stay informed and help you deal with these situations at work.

More information for small business