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Know Your Rights - Annual Leave

Annual Leave is an important entitlement that unions fought hard to introduce so that you can access paid time off.

Annual Leave applies to full-time and part-time employees but not casual employees.

All full-time and part-time employees are entitled to at least 4 weeks of paid annual leave per year.

Your paid annual leave accrues week to week during a year of service based on your ordinary hours of work and carries over year to year if you don’t use it.

Your employer should not unreasonably refuse to agree to a request to take paid annual leave.

The SDA advises all employees to give as much notice as possible about intending to take annual leave and should submit a leave request.

Do not assume that your annual leave is approved if you are given verbal approval by management.

Always ensure that you have confirmation of the approval of your leave in writing.

Some employers have “blackout periods” which are generally times that the employer feels are extremely busy trading periods such as Christmas, Easter and stocktake.

You should not be afraid of or discouraged from applying for annual leave during these times.

While not everyone can have these periods off, the individual circumstances of each employee should be taken into consideration if they apply for leave during the “blackout period”.

If the period during which you take annual leave includes a public holiday or a part-day public holiday in your workplace, it will not be considered as annual leave.

However, you will still receive a payment of wages at their ordinary rate of pay for  the public holiday or part-day public holiday.

If you take annual leave, your employer must pay you at their base rate of pay for your ordinary hours of work.

You may also be entitled to leave loading and/or penalties.

If you leave your job, you will be paid out for any accrued leave that has not been taken.

The Awards and many Enterprise Agreements contain provisions enabling employees to cash out some of their annual leave.

Normally this is by agreement with the employer and the worker is required to maintain a balance of annual leave after the cash out has occurred.

Remember: Make sure you get your leave approved before booking any flights or accommodation

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