Direction to take annual leave: know your rights

CBA has recently sent out an email “asking” you to take your annual leave and have begun communicating with people about a Christmas shutdown for “non essential” employees.

Regardless of what CBA might “ask” or “expect” you to do with your leave, you have rights in this regard.

If you’re under pressure to submit leave that you’re uncomfortable about, or can’t get any suitable leave approved CONTACT YOUR UNION ON 1300 366 378 – we can help. 


  • CBA can only direct an you to take leave if you have more than 6 weeks accrued.
  • Even if you’re directed to take leave, CBA must try to reach agreement with you about when and how you take that leave. This means that your personal circumstances have to be considered. Contact the union for support in this circumstance.
  • You can not be directed to take leave if the direction would push your final balance below 4 weeks.


  • CBA does not have the ability to direct you to use your leave, take unpaid leave or purchase leave for a shutdown. They can, however, shutdown areas at their discretion.
  • CBA only has the ability to direct you to take leave as outlined above. So they could use their ability to direct you to take leave for a Christmas Shutdown, but only if the circumstances above apply to you.
  • If you don’t meet the criteria to be directed to take leave for a shutdown, or don’t want to take leave over that time, CBA would either have to find work for you to do, or pay you as if you were at work for the shutdown period.

The flowchart below clarifies what is and is not allowed with regard to your annual leave. There is a downloadable version here with more detailed guidance on the back. Please share it with colleagues.


CBA’s communications give the impression that they can require you to take all of your leave, every year. This isn’t the case.

We’d urge you to forward this information to your colleagues so that they know their rights.

If you have more questions or specific concerns, please call our Member Rights Centre on 1300 366 378.

Your FSU Team

Authorised by Julia Angrisano, National Secretary