Wk 8 – What is? The Leave Policy

Hi everyone, I’m Peta Cussell from Project Ops and this is week 8 of our 10-week series discussing key areas of Human Resources relevant to Small Business. This week I am going to talk about the importance of a Leave Policy in the workplace.


Types of Leave

 The Leave Policy outlines in one policy the different types of leave, such as:

  1. Annual Leave
  2. Personal/Carer’s Leave
  3. Compassionate Leave
  4. Long Service Leave
  5. Community Services Leave (which includes Jury Service and Voluntary Emergency Services).

It should also discuss award and non-award specific information pertaining to cashing out of various leave types and implications on leave accruals and balances. 

The Leave Policy should also be accompanied by a Parental Leave Policy and a Leave Without Pay Policy.



Minimum leave entitlements are provided for by the Fair Work Act, and this policy sets out how such entitlements will be dealt with in the workplace. All of these entitlements may differ in some respects for certain types of employees e.g. day workers and shift workers; agreement-covered employees; award-covered employees; or award/agreement free employees. They also differ depending on the specifics of the agreement or award that applies. So one organisation may have different rules and entitlements for their various employees.

Confusing isn’t it? This is why one policy that covers all leave entitlements, will make management of leave so much easier.

The Leave Policy also provides guidelines to employees on how to request leave and who to ask; the administrative process; as well as specific documentation that is required for certain types of leave. It is important however, that the Leave Policy and processes are consistent throughout with any enterprise agreement, contract, or award that applies to the employees in the workplace.


Applying the Rules

A suitable Leave Policy should aim to preserve staff well-being and motivation, and aim to assign leave in a manner which meets the needs of the business and the employee. It should allow a degree of flexibility to approve leave to meet employees’ paid and unpaid leave entitlements to best accommodate personal, family, work and community commitments, without compromising the achievement of the business' objectives.

While various forms of leave are subject to statutory regulation, the manner in which such leave is to be taken can be subject to negotiation. For example, with Annual Leave, the policy will detail the business’ administrative process involved in applying for leave and taking leave as well as any proof that is required.


The Importance of Getting it Right

But getting it right and compliance with the National Employment Standards is key! A breach of any statutory leave entitlement under the Fair Work Act, can result in huge penalties of up to $10,800 for an individual and $54,000 for a corporation, per breach. So multiple breaches within one organisation could result in crippling fines, which could potentially destroy your business.


How Project Ops can help?

Australia’s employment system can be confusing and daunting for small business. Its full of complex policies and changing legalities, is hard to understand and even harder to keep up-to-date with. That’s where Project Ops comes in. We have many years of experience and really understand small business. With Project Ops, we make HR simple! 

We can assist with HR Advice; the provision of compliant HR Policies and HR documentation (such as Employment Contracts; HR Letters e.g. warning letters, termination letters etc; Forms; and Checklists); set up your Performance Management system and process; we can guide you through any tricky HR situation; and we can also help you with the Recruitment of staff in the first place! If you would like to discuss how Project Ops can assist your business, please get in touch!

Project Ops are one of Australia’s leading outsourcing specialists, providing some of Australia’s best talent to businesses of all sizes for one-off projects, short or long-term contracts. Specialising in Human Resources (HR), Recruitment, Business Operations, Change Management, Project Management and Event Management.