The Fair Work Commission have made changes to some awards regarding annual leave.
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website states that the changes apply to rules regarding cashing out annual leave, taking annual leave in advance, managing excessive annual leave balances and payment for annual leave. The Fair Work Ombudsman’s website outline a summary of the changes.
In regards to cashing out annual leave, the Fair Work Ombudsman states that “most awards now allow employees to cash out annual leave if they have at least four weeks annual leave left after the cash out, have signed a written agreement with their employer and don’t cash out more than two weeks every 12 months.”
In regards to taking annual leave in advance, the Fair Work Ombudsman states that “most awards now allow employees to take annual leave before they have accrued it if their employer agrees in writing.” The agreement needs to be signed by both the employer and the employee, state how much annual leave is being taken and what day the leave will start.
In regards to managing excessive annual leave balances, the Fair Work Ombudsman states that “some awards have a new clause allowing employees with excessive annual leave balances to tell their employer that they will take a period of leave.” Employers will also be able to give required notice to their employees to take leave even if both parties can’t reach an agreement.
In regards to payment for annual leave, the Fair Work Ombudsman states that under some awards, annual leave has to be paid before the employee starts their leave, however a new clause has been added so now if an employee is paid by Electronic Funds Transder (EFT), they can continue to be paid using their usual pay cycle during periods of leave.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, business leaders have praised the Fair Work Commission’s reform as a welcome move towards more flexible employment arrangements, however unions are criticising the reform out of fear that it could possibly lead to the breakdown of crucial workplace conditions.
The changes to annual leave took effect last week on July 29, with the excessive annual leave changes relating to employee notice, due to take effect on 29 July 2017.
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