Holding CBA accountable on leave entitlements

Life Leave & Sick Leave

CBA are proposing to add three days of a new type of leave that you’d only get if you have used four weeks worth of annual leave in the 12 months prior AND have less than 20 days accrued. They’re proposing to do this in exchange for a reduction in sick leave accruals for the majority of employees.

Three extra days of leave sounds great (if you can ever book your leave when you want it!) but the union is concerned that this is not a genuine entitlement and that some of the tradeoffs CBA are seeking are not worth it.

Cutting people’s entitlement to sick days in the middle of a global pandemic and swapping them for three days that they can only use if they take all their annual leave in a year and keep their balance low is not the wonderful gift that CBA are making it out to be.

If you currently use all your annual leave now, then under CBA’s proposal you could lose some sick days and get these three extra days leave. But if you don’t currently use all your annual leave, and you don’t have a balance under 20 days, then under their proposal you’d just lose sick days (an important safety net).

That’s not a good deal.

The union aren’t opposed to the idea of these extra days of leave. We’re opposed to the extra strings attached to them. We told CBA during negotiations on this topic that they could remove moving day and reduce the sick leave accruals if they loosened up the strings on “life leave” and gave it to everyone on a non-accruing basis. That would make it as good a proposal as they’re saying it is. They refused.

A new entitlement for some in exchange for an entitlement for all is unfair, gives the bank too much more control over leave, and that’s what we told them in negotiations.

CBA has also suggested that their proposal to remove moving day won’t matter because life leave will cover you if you need to move house. But it’s not just the people who have used up enough of their leave balances to qualify for CBA’s proposed leave that will need to move house!

Moving house is hassle enough without losing this very handy entitlement.

Annual Leave

Currently CBA have the power to direct you to take annual leave if you have more than 6 weeks accrued. They exercise this power regularly.

CBA propose to reduce the threshold at which they can direct you to take leave down to 5 weeks. The union has firmly rejected this. 6 weeks is already a relatively low bar compared to the Award. We do not think CBA needs more power to tell you when you should take leave than they already have.

We know that the ability to take your leave when you want to is already problematic at CBA. The union has made claim for an improved process in submitting and responding to leave requests.

Part Time Long Service Leave

The way that the Commonwealth Bank calculates Long Service Leave (LSL) for Part Time employees is flawed. The equation used by CBA to calculate LSL accrual for part time employees relies on averaging of hours worked per week. This causes balances to move up and down depending on the hours you’re currently working.

In some cases – where employees have reduced their weekly hours and have taken long service leave at some stage, it can cause long service leave balances to go into the negative from one week to the next!

If you work part time, or have worked part time at any stage, the way your LSL has been calculated relies on averaging your weekly hours. This could mean that some time in the future the balance on your payslip might change dramatically without you having taken any leave.