Unpaid leave and other paid leave

Published 22 June 2020 | Updated 8 April 2021

Learn more other paid leave options, such as long service leave, and unpaid leave options during coronavirus.

Unpaid leave

Unpaid pandemic leave

Some employees have access to 2 weeks unpaid pandemic leave, if they are employed under an affected award.

Go to Unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave changes to awards to find out which awards have unpaid pandemic leave, and the rules about when and how it can be taken.

Family and domestic violence leave

All employees, including part-time and casual employees, are entitled to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year. For more information visit Family and domestic violence leave.

Unpaid carer’s leave

All employees, including casual employees, are entitled to unpaid carer’s leave to care for a member of their immediate family or household. For more information visit Unpaid carer's leave.

Agreeing to other unpaid leave

Awards, enterprise agreements, employment contracts and workplace policies may also have other types of unpaid leave.An employer can give extra unpaid leave to their employees if they choose to, even if it isn’t in an award, enterprise agreement, employment contract or workplace policy. This should be negotiated between the employer and employee. An employee usually doesn’t accumulate other types of leave when they’re on other unpaid leave.

Example: agreed unpaid leave

Justin is a part-time delivery driver under the Road Transport Award. He normally works 4 days a week.

Due to the impacts of coronavirus, Justin wants to spend more time at home with his family.

Justin emails his employer to ask if he can only work 3 days a week and will take unpaid leave 1 day a week. Justin’s employer emails him back to approve the unpaid leave for 4 weeks. After 4 weeks they’ll review the arrangement.

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Other paid leave

Long service leave

An employee gets long service leave after working for the same employer for a long time.

In most cases, entitlements and rules about long service leave come from the laws in each state or territory. To find out how to check the rules for your state or territory see Long service leave.

Compassionate leave

All employees (other than casuals) are entitled to 2 days of paid compassionate leave per occasion (also known as bereavement leave). Casual employees are entitled to unpaid compassionate leave. This leave can be taken when a member of an employee’s immediate family or household dies, or contracts or develops a life-threatening illness or injury. For more information see Compassionate and bereavement leave.

Other paid leave

Awards, enterprise agreements, employment contracts and workplace policies may have other types of paid leave.

An employer can give extra paid leave to their employees if they choose to, even if it isn’t in an award, enterprise agreement, contract or workplace policy. This should be negotiated between the employer and employee.

Example: Agreed other paid leave

Brett is a full-time employee whose employment is covered by an enterprise agreement.

The nursery he works for is open to customers but his employer wants to reduce the number of employees in the nursery each day to manage the impacts of coronavirus.

Brett and his employer aren’t eligible for the JobKeeper scheme and the enterprise agreement doesn’t have any other entitlements or provisions for this situation.

Brett doesn’t have any accumulated paid leave left. His employer offers him 1 week of extra paid leave so he can take 1 day of leave each week for 5 weeks. He confirms the agreement by email.

Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay

Eligible employees who are the primary carer of a newborn or newly adopted child can apply to get 18 weeks' Parental Leave Pay (PLP) from the Australian Government. This is paid at the National Minimum Wage.

Eligible working dads and partners (including same-sex partners) can apply to get 2 weeks paid Dad and Partner Pay. This is paid at the National Minimum Wage.

Employees who lose their job because of coronavirus might be able to claim PLP or Dad and Partner Pay.

Find out more about applying, eligibility and the payments on the Services Australia website:

To learn more about the workplace entitlements for paid parental leave, go to our Paid parental leave page.

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