Published 8 April 2020 | Updated 5 August 2022
Learn more about unpaid pandemic leave in some awards and how employees can access it.
Unpaid pandemic leave stopped applying in most awards from 30 June 2022.
On this page:
In this section:
Employees employed under one of the affected awards can access up to 2 weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave (or more by agreement with their employer) if they are prevented from working:
- because they're required to self-isolate by government or medical authorities, or acting on the advice of a medical practitioner, or
- by measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the pandemic (for example, an enforceable government direction restricting non-essential businesses).
Check if your award includes unpaid pandemic leave at Awards where unpaid pandemic leave applies.
The leave is available in full immediately to:
- casual employees.
Employees don’t have to:
- accrue the leave or
- use all their paid leave before accessing unpaid pandemic leave.
The leave needs to start before – but can finish – after 31 December 2022.
All eligible employees can take the 2 weeks’ unpaid leave. It isn't pro-rated for employees who don't work full-time.
Unpaid pandemic leave doesn’t affect other paid or unpaid leave entitlements. It also counts as service for entitlements under awards and the National Employment Standards.
Notice and evidence
An employee has to let their employer know:
- that they are going to take unpaid pandemic leave
- the reason for taking the leave.
This has to be done as soon as possible, which can be after the leave started.
An employer can ask an employee to give evidence that shows why they took the leave.
An employer can’t dismiss an employee or take any other adverse action against an employee because the employee is entitled to unpaid pandemic leave.
Example: Taking unpaid pandemic leave
Mitch is a casual home care employee covered by the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Award. Mitch needs to provide direct care to clients so can't work from home.
Mitch has received advice from his doctor that he needs to self-isolate because a family member has tested positive to COVID-19. He then calls his employer to let them know his situation.
Mitch's employer discusses the different kinds of leave options Mitch has while he's away from work. After talking about it, Mitch decides he'll take unpaid pandemic leave.
At his employer’s request, Mitch emails them a letter from his doctor confirming the medical advice to self-isolate.
Unpaid pandemic leave applies in some awards from the first full pay period starting on or after 15 July 2022 until the end of 2022. It had previously stopped applying on 30 June 2022.
|Aged Care Award||31 December 2022|
|Ambulance and Patient Transport Industry Award||31 December 2022|
|Aboriginal Controlled Health Services Award||31 December 2022|
|Health Professionals and Support Services Award||31 December 2022|
|Supported Employment Services Award||31 December 2022|
|Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award||31 December 2022|
On 8 April 2020, the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) made determinations varying 99 awards, adding unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave flexibility.
The determinations inserted a temporary Schedule X into these 99 awards, which provided 2 weeks of unpaid pandemic leave and the ability to take twice as much annual leave at half their normal pay if their employer agreed.
The Commission has extended the entitlement to unpaid pandemic leave under Schedule X in most awards many times.
On 17 June 2022, the Commission issued a decision to remove expired unpaid pandemic leave terms and other expired COVID-19 provisions from many awards.
The Commission made a decision that reinserted unpaid pandemic leave into these 6 awards on 15 July 2022:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services Award
- Aged Care Award
- Ambulance and Patient Transport Award
- Health Professionals and Support Services Award
- Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Award
- Supported Employment Services Award.
The table below outlines the awards that included unpaid pandemic leave provisions and their end date.
For most awards, unpaid pandemic leave ended on 30 June 2022.
30 June 2022
|Airline Operations - Ground Staff Award||30 June 2022|
|Airport Award||30 June 2022|
|Alpine Resorts Award||30 June 2022|
|Aluminium Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Amusement, Events and Recreation Award||30 June 2022|
|Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award||30 June 2022|
|Aquaculture Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Architects Award||30 June 2022|
|Asphalt Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Banking, Finance and Insurance Award||30 June 2022|
|Broadcasting Award||30 June 2022|
|Building and Construction Award||30 June 2022|
|Business Equipment Award||30 June 2022|
|Car Parking Award||30 June 2022|
|Cement, Lime and Quarrying Award||30 June 2022|
|Cemetery Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Children's Services Award||30 June 2022|
|Cleaning Services Award||30 June 2022|
|Contract Call Centres Award||30 June 2022|
|Corrections and Detention (Private Sector) Award||30 June 2022|
|Cotton Ginning Award||30 June 2022|
|Dry Cleaning and Laundry Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Fast Food Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Fitness Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award||30 June 2022|
|Funeral Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Gardening and Landscaping Services Award||30 June 2022|
|Graphic Arts Award||30 June 2022|
|Hair and Beauty Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Horse and Greyhound Training Award||30 June 2022|
|Horticulture Award||30 June 2022|
|Hospitality Industry (General) Award||30 June 2022|
|Joinery Award||30 June 2022|
|Labour Market Assistance Award||30 June 2022|
|Legal Services Award||30 June 2022|
|Live Performance Award||30 June 2022|
|Local Government Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award||30 June 2022|
|Meat Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Medical Practitioners Award||30 June 2022|
|Mobile Crane Award||30 June 2022|
|Nursery Award||30 June 2022|
|Nurses Award||30 June 2022|
|Pastoral Award||30 June 2022|
|Pest Control Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Pharmaceutical Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Pharmacy Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Plumbing Award||30 June 2022|
|Poultry Processing Award||30 June 2022|
|Premixed Concrete Award||30 June 2022|
|Professional Award||30 June 2022|
|Professional Diving Industry (Recreational) Award||30 June 2022|
|Racing Clubs Events Award||30 June 2022|
|Racing Industry Ground Maintenance Award||30 June 2022|
|Real Estate Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Registered and Licensed Clubs Award||30 June 2022|
|Restaurant Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|General Retail Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Salt Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Seafood Processing Award||30 June 2022|
|Security Services Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Silviculture Award||30 June 2022|
|State Government Agencies Award||30 June 2022|
|Storage Services and Wholesale Award||30 June 2022|
|Sugar Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award||30 June 2022|
|Timber Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Waste Management Award||30 June 2022|
|Water Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Wine Industry Award||30 June 2022|
|Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award||30 June 2022|
Prior to 30 June 2022
|Air Pilots Award||29 March 2021|
|Aircraft Cabin Crew Award||30 June 2020|
|Book Industry Award||30 June 2020|
|Clerks - Private Sector Award||30 June 2020|
|Commercial Sales Award||29 March 2021|
|Concrete Products Award||30 June 2020|
|Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award||30 June 2020|
|Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award||29 March 2021|
|Educational Services (Teachers) Award||30 June 2020|
|Higher Education Industry – Academic Staff – Award||30 June 2020|
|Higher Education Industry – General Staff – Award||29 March 2021|
|Journalists Published Media Award||29 March 2021|
|Mannequins and Models Award||30 June 2020|
|Marine Tourism and Charter Vessels Award||30 June 2020|
|Market and Social Research Award||30 June 2020|
|Miscellaneous Award||29 March 2021|
|Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award||30 June 2020|
|Rail Industry Award||29 March 2021|
|Road Transport and Distribution Award||30 June 2020|
|Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award||30 June 2020|
|Sporting Organisations Award||30 June 2020|
|Surveying Award||29 March 2021|
|Telecommunications Services Award||30 June 2020|
|Transport (Cash in Transit) Award||30 June 2020|
|Travelling Shows Award||30 June 2020|
|Vehicle Repair, Service and Retail Award||29 March 2021|