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What are the other types of Leave available employees

  • Post category:Labour Laws

We all know about annual leave and sick leave but what do we know about the other types of leave.

Stress Leave

Workplace stress is not defined by law. It can be caused by a number of things, including:

  • an unreasonable workload
  • lack of health and safety precautions against hazards
  • workplace bullying
  • workplace restructuring
  • a toxic work environment.

An employer must make sure, as reasonably possible, that health and safety risks in the workplace are identified and managed properly. This includes workplace stress and fatigue.

Employers are obliged to monitor employees for potential workplace stress, such as keeping an eye on workload, job performance and the types of tasks being performed, as well as looking for any physical signs of stress.

However, the stress may not always be obvious to the employer, so it’s important that if employees are stressed in the workplace, they discuss it with their employer so that their employer has a chance to manage the stress.

Garden Leave

Garden leave can be useful when both the employee and employer agree to its use in a particular situation. However, employers should be very careful using it if the employee wants to remain at work.

An employee is entitled and obliged to attend work. An employer can’t ask an employee to go on garden leave unless you both agree (the agreement includes having a garden leave provision in the employment agreement, entered into in good faith). If the employment agreement doesn’t have a garden leave provision, an employer shouldn’t put an employee on garden leave without their agreement. Garden leave shouldn’t be used to get around the requirements for suspension (ie the requirements that there are appropriate grounds for suspension and the right process has been followed).

Employees must continue to follow all their terms and conditions of employment while they are on garden leave.

Defence Force Volunteers

Under the Volunteers Employment Protection Act 1973, an employer has to let employees take leave while they do Armed Forces’:

  • full-time or part-time voluntary training or service (unpaid) and/or
  • active operational service, if they are called up or volunteer in a ‘Situation of National Interest’, war or emergency.

Employers must hold an employee’s job open and protect their entitlements but don’t have to pay employees for any period while on leave.

Leave without pay

An employer might consider agreeing to a period of leave without pay, for example:

  • if an employee doesn’t have enough annual holidays to cover the time they want to take off work, or
  • if an employee doesn’t have enough sick leave to cover a period of illness or injury
  • for study leave
  • for a sabbatical
  • if the employee can’t take parental leave or negotiated carer leave.

If the employee takes time off work without the employer’s agreement, this is unauthorised leave and could result in a disciplinary process being taken.

General Election Voting Leave

Your employer must give you time off to vote in general (parliamentary) elections on polling day if:

  • you are (or are qualified to be) registered as an elector of the district where the election is, and
  • you haven’t had a reasonable opportunity to vote before starting work.

The amount of time you can have off to vote depends on whether you’re required for essential work or services:

  • If you don’t have to work after 3pm on the polling day for essential work or services, your employer must allow you to leave work by 3pm for the rest of the day without deductions from your pay for this time off work.
  • If you’re required to work for essential work or services after 3pm on the polling day your employer must allow you to leave work for a reasonable time to vote. Your employer can’t make deductions from your pay for time up to 2 hours that you spend off work.

Jury Service

  • Employees who have been called up for jury service must attend and their job is protected while they attend jury service. Employers must allow an employee to attend jury service.
  • If an employee’s absence from work causes difficulty for an employer because of special commitments, an employer can give the employee a letter to support their application to be excused or have their service deferred.
  • An employer can’t dismiss their employee or threaten to dismiss them or otherwise threaten their position for attending jury service. In this situation, the employer could be convicted of an offence and receive a fine of up to $10,000, and the employee could also bring a personal grievance.
  • It is illegal to require an employee to use their annual leave to cover time off for jury duty.

This information is not a substitute for legal advice, we recommend that if you identify problems in the areas listed you consult with someone before acting on any material you have read