That’s right, we’ve made it to our all time favourite part of the year — road trip time 🏝🛫🍹The Fact Sheet on annual leave is on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website but for a fun, purely pink perspective, please read on.
While our full time friends in the United States are tripping it out at two weeks vacation time per year, us Australians are sitting on four, or a pro rata equivalent, for part time workers. Some professions have honoured the challenging nature of their employees’ contributions by adding additional leave. Either way, we’ve earned it, we must take it. Some people want to cash their annual leave out but it is there to help rest and recuperate. Returning to work without proper time off puts you at risk of making a mistake and that hurts everybody involved.
Also known as holiday pay, it often comes with a percentage incentive, usually around 17.5%, called leave loading. This offsets the wage loss associated with not being able to do overtime or the loss of allowances, such as working shift patterns or working unsociable hours, such as weekends.
It is applied universally. This means you don’t need to demonstrate a history of doing overtime and have any requirements to perform certain duties. For most, it is seen as a given – something they forget about until the extra money lands in their bank account – and is then used to splurge at key festive periods such as Easter, Eid, Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas.
First, let’s break it down into employment category:
- Casual employees
Casual employees don’t receive annual leave. They are given an additional percentage, to address this. It is generally around 25% and compensates for not receiving other types of leave, such as annual and bereavement leave.
Rather than seeing it as a bonus rate, it is advisable to take a portion of the casual loading and put it in a separate savings account. It becomes a bonus at holiday time or, worst case scenario, can cover bills in cases of illness when you can’t work.
Present you, wanting to purchase that nice watch you’ve had your eye on, might be annoyed at the delay in shopping gratification but future you will fall in love at first sight with your savvy self. We add a caveat though and acknowledge the privilege in this assumption. You may simply be making ends meet. In which case, hats off to you and may you prosper at some point in the near future.
- Permanent employees
We’ve arrived! Access to annual leave! If you’re a part time employee then it’s pro rata. That means, a full time worker at 38 hours a week receives four weeks, someone on half of that, 19 hours a week, has two weeks leave to utilise. Keep in mind, it usually accrues as you work and is not something deposited into your leave account on the day you begin employment.
Leave is not accrued while you’re on leave, only when you are rostered on to work. In some cases, where employees have an excessive leave balance, the employer can force the employee to take leave. This should be negotiated to be mutually beneficial for both parties. In the world of employment, large leave balances are a liability to employers. An employee or group of employees who depart with lumps of leave are a huge financial cost to the organisation and can destabilise the department, organisation or entity.
💰 Annual leave
💰 Long service leave
💰 Notice period (if terminated by the employer)
💰 Redundancy package (as above)
Smart employers will have a leave policy and proactive leave practices in place. An even smarter employer will have transparent procedures in place for access to leave, especially around key festive periods. We have seen organisations have employees turn on each other because certain cultural groups were perceived to be treated more favourably, as well as sub-groups given favourable treatment. It was not the case, but the perception was there and, when it comes to bullying and harassment, perception is all that matters.
Keep in mind, these core employment rights are captured here because the cunning bullies use these to create damage to their targets. You need to know the basics to know how to unravel their dastardly deeds and call it out before they get too far ahead in the bullying cycle.
Examples of transparent process includes a rotation for key festive periods or a request to establish who would prefer to work, then fill the remainder with available workers.
INSIDER ASIDE NOTE
Hard won and well worth it, our annual leave balance is top notch because we have done the hard yards and have earned it, more than we realise. One common occurrence we’ve observed in the employment world is an increase in sickness rates, usually within one to three days of starting annual leave.
Put simply, a strong desire to tie up loose ends and not return to an excessive number of emails pushes workers past breaking point and, once relaxed, their body has permission to fall over and begin the process of recuperating. Just when you think you’re home free, sitting beside a pool with a pina colada, you’re struck down and are stuck on the couch with some Lemsip and Alka-Seltzer.
If this is a one-off then it’s not a big deal. It is more a case of let that be a lesson to you. Know your worth, because you are worth more than work overload.
If it is a recurring theme then it might be time to consider strategies to address the work excess:
1️⃣ Establish if you are the only person affected;
2️⃣ If not, see what course of action is available; and
3️⃣ Collectively work to find solutions or alternatives.
As a group, find a way to raise it with management. You might like to elect one person to speak on behalf of the group but two is better. This demonstrates it is a group issue, not one solitary ‘trouble maker’ who is challenging management or a manager.
Annual Leave.NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS