The High Court of Australia has today handed down its judgement in the appeal of AMWU v Mondelez regarding personal leave accrual rules for part-time employees.

The original decision (see our earlier article) suggested that the correct interpretation of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) was that all permanent employees, including those engaged on a part-time basis, were entitled to ten full days paid personal/carer’s leave (“sick leave”) per year, no matter how many hours they worker.

In other words, the decision suggested that a part-time employee who worked one day per week would, in effect, be entitled to 10 weeks paid leave per year (1 day per week x 10 = 10 weeks).

The High Court has now reversed this position and confirmed the entitlement to “10 days” of paid personal/carer’s leave for full-time employees should be calculated by reference to a day meaning 7.6 hours (as full-time employees generally work 5 days a week of 7.6 hours per day). This means full-time employees are entitled to 76 hours of personal/carer’s leave per year.

The court confirmed that part-time employees accrue leave on a pro-rata basis of a full-time employee. The exact entitlement is calculated by taking the total amount of ordinary hours they work in a year and dividing by 26. For full-time employees this equates to 76 hours, for part-time employees the figure will be less.

This is a welcome outcome for employers who would otherwise face an increase in the personal/carer’s leave owed to employees.

We will be considering the case in more detail and follow up with any further learnings.

A copy of the full judgment is available here.


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