Awards update: changes to annual leave

Cash or holiday? The Fair Work Commission has announced variations to awards when taking annual leave. As of 29 July 2016, the changes include cashing out annual leave, taking leave in advance, and how to deal with excessive accumulated leave.

Cashing out annual leave

Most awards now allow employees to cash out annual leave if they have at least 4 weeks leave left after getting it cashed out or have a signed written agreement with their employer. An employee may not cash out more than 2 weeks accrued leave within a 12 month period.

Taking leave in advance

These changes now mean that most employees can take annual leave in advance before they have accrued it if their employer agrees in writing. The written agreement must be signed by both the employer and the employee, outline how much annual leave is being taken in advance and the day the leave will start.

Managing excessive annual leave balances

If an employee has 8 or more weeks of annual leave accumulated (and 10 weeks for shift workers) they may be entitled to have some of it paid out. If there is excessive leave and the employee and employer can’t agree on when to take it, the employer can:

  • tell the employee in writing that they must take annual leave
  • give the employee at least 8 weeks’ notice of when the leave will start.

To read more on the changes to awards surrounding annual leave go to the Fair Work website.