What are the minimum entitlements to compassionate leave?
An employee (including a casual employee) is entitled to two days of compassionate leave per year to spend time with a member of their immediate family or household who has sustained a life-threatening illness or injury.
Compassionate leave may also be taken after the death of a member of the employee’s immediate family or household.
An employee may take compassionate leave for each occasion as
- a single continuous two day period or
- two separate periods of one day each or
- any separate periods to which the employee and his or her employer agree.
What payments are required when compassionate leave is taken?
If an employee (other than a casual employee) takes a period of compassionate leave, the employer must pay the employee at the employee’s base rate of pay for the ordinary hours they would have worked during the period.
As mentioned above, casual employees are not entitled to any paid compassionate leave.
However, casuals are entitled to unpaid compassionate leave.
Are there notice and evidence requirements?
For all periods of compassionate leave, an employee must give his or her employer notice of the taking of such leave.
The notice must be given to the employer as soon as practicable (which may be a time after the leave has started), and must advise the employer of the period, or expected period, of the leave.
An employer is entitled to request evidence that would substantiate the reason for leave. A failure to either provide notice or, if required, evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person to substantiate the reasons for the leave, means the employee is not entitled to the leave.
An award or agreement may include terms relating to the kind of evidence that an employee must provide in order to be entitled to compassionate leave. For example, an employer may request that the employee provides a medical certificate.