How much annual leave do staff get?

Most full-time workers get 4 weeks of paid annual leave for every 12 months of work. Part-time employees are also entitled to 4 weeks annual leave but paid on a pro rata basis.

Employees can be entitled to an extra week of paid annual leave on top of this if they:

  • regularly work shifts on Sundays and public holidays
  • work for a business that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Casual workers aren't automatically entitled to annual leave. Instead, they're paid a loading in addition to their normal rate of pay.

Rate of pay and annual leave loading

Annual leave is usually paid at the same rate as ordinary hours, but can be paid with an annual leave loading on top (usually 17.5%). Leave loading is money paid on top of an employee's normal pay to compensate them for expenses during annual leave.

You only have to pay leave loading if it's outlined in your employee's award or workplace agreement.

Call the Fair Work Commission Infoline on 13 13 94 for more information.

Directing staff to take leave over Christmas

Under the Fair Work Act 2009, any employer can direct employees to take annual leave for a period of shutdown over Christmas. This can be a great way to maximise productivity for your business.

Keep in mind, though, the Act specifies that the employee must have accumulated the leave to take it.

What if the employee doesn't have enough leave?

If the employee hasn't accrued enough leave, you can:

  • ask them to take unpaid leave (they must consent), or
  • pay their leave in advance.

If you pay out leave in advance, the employee will need to build up enough annual leave to cover the advance before they're entitled to more.

Find out when the public holidays land this Christmas.

Creating an annual leave policy

It's up to you and your employees to agree on when they take their annual leave and for how long.

Ensure your staff are aware of your leave policies by including them in your HR policies and procedures manual.