Bosses who refuse to grant their employees leave over the holiday period may be breaking the law.

Telling workers they can’t have time off over Christmas and New Year period because it’s ‘too busy’ is an ‘unreasonable’ excuse under the Fair Work Act.

Most full-time workers in Australia get four weeks annual leave a year, in addition to their sick or personal leave entitlements, while shift workers are entitled to five weeks off.

While the Fair Work Act does not specifically cover annual leave bans, it does ensure that employers can not ‘unreasonably’ refuse the holiday requests of their workers.

Whether a request is ‘reasonable’ depends on the individual case and depends on if an employee gives sufficient notice, and the nature of the business.

Despite many employees complaining of having extended leave knocked back, there is neither a minimum or maximum amount of leave that can be taken at any one time.

Full-time employees will continue to be paid during their annual leave, except in the instance where they and their employer agree to unpaid leave.

Their time off is paid at the normal hourly wage and they will not be paid overtime.

ANNUAL LEAVE MYTHS BUSTED:

– Employers can not deny the annual leave requests of their workers without ‘reason’.

– Simply claiming that is a ‘busy’ time of the year may not be a good enough excuse for denying your leave request.

– Despite the claims of some employers, there is no minimum or maximum amount of leave that can be taken.

– All full-time and part-time employees are entitled to a minimum 10 paid sick or personal leave days annually.

Annual leave requests must always be made in advance of the leave being taken and in most workplaces require the signature of both the employer and employee.

Different rules apply to different industries, particularly when it comes to how much accrued leave is considered ‘excessive’.

In the construction industry, workers who have more than eight weeks accrued leave can apply for time off which must be approved by their employer.

This also applies to most hospitality workers, however only if they haven’t already got leave pending.

Retail workers who have accrued more than eight weeks of leave are required to give at least eight weeks notice.

They must also take no less than one-week off at this time.

When it comes to sick and compassionate leave, all full and part-time employees are entitled to varying amounts of paid and unpaid time off.

All employees, except casuals, get 10 days sick and personal leave annually.

Australians can manage to get 16 days off this Christmas by taking just eight days of annual leave, when public holidays are taken into account.

In fact, if you took your annual leave around public holidays and already existing long weekends, the standard 20 days off could be turned into as many as 55.

By: SCOOPH

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