INDUSTRIAL UPDATE – The Taking of Annual Leave

Many trainers are unaware of their rights and those of their employees regarding the taking of annual leave.

Section 88 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) states the following:

Paid annual leave may be taken for a period agreed between an employee and his or her employer.
(2)  The employer must not unreasonably refuse to agree to a request by the employee to take paid annual leave.

The Horse and Greyhound Training Award 2010 (HGTA) Clause 23.4 states the following:
Annual leave is to be taken within 18 months of the entitlement accruing. For the purpose of ensuring accrued annual leave is taken within that period and in the absence of agreement as provided for in s.88 of the Act, (see above) an employer may require an employee to take a period of annual leave from a particular date provided the employee is given at least 28 days’ notice.

Section 90 (1) (the Act) states the following:

(1)  If, in accordance with this Division, an employee takes a period of paid annual leave, the employer must pay the employee at the employee’s base rate of pay for the employee’s ordinary hours of work in the period.

Clause 23.5 of the (HGTA) states the following:
Before the start of the employee’s annual leave the employer must pay the employee:
(a)  notwithstanding the base rate of pay referred to in s.90(1) of the Act, the amount the employee would have earned for working their normal hours, exclusive of overtime, had they not been on leave; and
(b)  an additional loading of 17.5% of the relevant minimum wage for the period of leave.

Wage increases usually come into effect on 1 July of each year
Employers need to keep in mind that the Fair Work Commission is responsible for reviewing and setting minimum wages for employees in the national workplace relations system.

Each financial year the Commission's Expert Panel for annual wage reviews conducts an annual wage review.

In conducting the annual wage review, the Expert Panel is required under the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) to review minimum wages in modern awards. The decision and order generally come into operation on 1 July.

The reviews and decisions handed down since the introduction of modern awards have resulted in minimum wage increasing of 3.4% (July 2011), 2.9% (July 2012), 2.6% (July 2013) & 3% (July 2014).

The accumulation of unused annual leave entitlements over a number of years will result in additional costs to a business and should be avoided where possible.

It is therefore prudent to ensure that your employees take holidays regularly from a business financial perspective and for the overall well-being of your staff.

The ATA’s Industrial Relations Manager is contactable on (03) 9372 1688 or should Members require further assistance.

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