Paid or unpaid leave

by Oct 8, 2021All Posts, Industrial Relations, Modern Awards

Since the outbreak of COVID–19 we have fielded a lot of calls regarding leave and if it has changed any leave entitlements.  At the time of writing this blog, it hasn’t, nor is there any form of Pandemic Leave.

With that in mind, we would like to address the three ways an employee can take leave. This is not an extensive list, as there may be provisions for certain types of leave within your modern award or Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA).

Leave by mutual agreement

Any employee, by agreement (and we suggest in writing), can take annual leave, long service leave, or any other form of leave that is set out as part of the National Employment Standards (NES) , their Modern Award, Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) or as agreed as part of their offer of employment.  If you are taking Long Service Leave, please ensure you follow the regulations around this as per your State or Territory Legislation.

Directing an employee to take leave.

There are times where you may be able to direct an employee to take leave.  For example, some modern awards have clauses that allow an employer to direct a staff member to take leave if they have banked up over a certain amount. Some EBA’s also have this provision.  As an employer, we would recommend you re-read your modern award or EBA to see if you have such provisions. Alternatively, if an employee is considered “award-free”, and the request is deemed reasonable, then an employer can direct an employee to take leave.

Leave without Pay

A third option is leave without pay. An employee can request to take a period of time off without pay.  This is as it sounds, they take time off and are not paid for that period.

We recommend that you have regular open conversations with your staff during the current pandemic. It may be they agree to take accrued leave as a way of helping your business, and also helping to ensure you are still open once the current pandemic is over.

If this all seems too hard, if you are unclear on the steps, or afraid that you would make a mistake, give us a call on 1800 577 515 or email at Alternatively you can book a video chat at

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