Published 8 April 2020 | Updated 14 January 2022
Extension of unpaid pandemic leave in many awards
The Fair Work Commission has extended the entitlement to unpaid pandemic leave under Schedule X in many awards from 31 December 2021 until 30 June 2022.
The extension applies to 74 awards, including the Mobile Crane Award. To find out which awards are affected, go to Awards that still have unpaid pandemic leave and their end dates.
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 new Schedule X into these 99 awards, which provide 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, with the provisions now ending in most awards from 30 June 2022. The entitlement to take annual leave at half pay hasn’t been extended and will end on 31 December 2021.
Check the list below to see if your award is affected.
On this page:
In this section:
Unpaid pandemic leave
Employees who are 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're prevented from working:
- as a result of being 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).
The leave is available in full immediately to full-time, part-time and casual employees – they don’t have to accrue it.
Employees don’t have to use all their paid leave before accessing unpaid pandemic leave.
The leave needs to start before, but can finish after, the date when the unpaid pandemic leave provisions in the relevant award stop applying. Check your award in the table below to see when Schedule X stops operating.
All eligible employees can take the 2 weeks’ leave. It is not pro-rated for employees who don't work full-time.
Unpaid pandemic leave doesn’t affect other paid or unpaid leave entitlements and 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’re going to take unpaid pandemic leave and the reason for taking the leave. This has to be done as soon as possible and can be after the leave has started. They should also say how long they'll be off or expect to be off work.
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. Find out more about protections at work.
Example: Taking unpaid pandemic leave
Gerson is a casual shop assistant employed under the Retail Award. He’s received advice from a doctor that he needs to self-isolate because he was in close contact with a confirmed case.
He calls his employer to let them know his situation.
Gerson's employer discusses the different kinds of leave options he has while he's away from work. After talking about it, Gerson decides he'll take unpaid pandemic leave. On his employer’s request, Gerson emails his employer his medical certificate.
Please note that the entitlement to annual leave at half pay under Schedule X stopped applying from 31 December 2021.
Under Schedule X, employees could take their annual leave at half pay, and double their time off work, if their employer agreed. This would mean an employee could get paid 1 week of annual leave (including annual leave loading if applicable) for every 2 weeks of annual leave they took.
The agreement had to be in writing and the employer needed to keep it as a record.
The leave needed to start before 31 December 2021, but could finish after that date.
An employee on leave at half pay accumulated annual leave and sick and carer’s leave as if they were on leave at full pay.
Example: Annual leave at half pay
Leah works at a gym and is employed under the Fitness Industry Award. Because of an enforceable government direction in response to an outbreak of coronavirus, the gym Leah works at must close.
After talking with her employer about the situation, Leah decides to take some of her annual leave while the gym is closed. She currently has 6 weeks of annual leave.
Instead of taking 6 weeks at normal pay, Leah asks her employer if she can take 12 weeks’ annual leave at half pay.
Leah's employer is happy with this and records the agreement in writing.
The table below outline the awards that still have Schedule X as well as its new end date in each award. If your award isn’t listed here, go to List of awards where unpaid pandemic leave no longer applies.
Schedule X in the Mobile Crane Award has been reinstated and starts again from 1 January 2022 until 30 June 2022.
For all awards, annual leave at half pay provisions end on 31 December 2021.
30 June 2022
|Award||Schedule X end date|
|Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award||30 June 2022|
|Aged Care Award||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|
|Ambulance and Patient Transport 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|
|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|
|Health Professionals and Support Services 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|
|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|
|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|
|Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry 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|
To find out which awards used to have Schedule X but don’t any more, and when it stopped applying in those awards, see List of awards where unpaid pandemic leave no longer applies.
Western Australia state system
As some businesses in WA are not covered by the national system, visit WA Labour Relations for detailed information for state system employers and employees on employment obligations and entitlements during coronavirus .
Our Fair Work system page has information about who isn’t covered by the national system.