Community services leave is an entitlement under the National Employment Standards (NES) for all employees under the national system. This leave entitlement provides employees with a right to be absent from work to engage in prescribed community activities such as emergency services duties and jury service.
Entitlement to Community Services Leave
The Fair Work Act states that an employee who engages in an eligible community service activity is entitled to be absent from his or her employment for a period if the period consists of one or more of the following:
- Time when the employee engages in the activity;
- Reasonable travelling time associated with the activity;
- Reasonable rest time immediately following the activity; and
- Unless the activity is jury service — the employee’s absence is reasonable in all the circumstances.
The types of emergency services covered under community services leave are covered in s.109 of the Fair Work Act and include fire-fighting, civil defence or rescue bodies.
Community services leave is unpaid, unless otherwise stated.
The Fair Work Act provides an employee’s minimum entitlement to jury service. Jury service only applies to full-time and part-time employees. This provision does not apply to casual employees. The employer is required to “make up” the difference between the amount the employee is paid for attending jury service and the employee’s base rate of pay. The employer is only required to pay the employee the make-up pay for the first 10 days of the absence.
A State or Territory law which provides a more beneficial entitlement in relation to jury service for employees must also be observed.
Some Awards may also contain additional entitlements in relation to employees who are serving jury duty.
About Employment Innovations
Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.
The information provided in this knowledge base article is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.