Changes to personal/carer’s leave at Westpac

A recent decision in the High Court has prompted Westpac to change personal/carer’s leave accruals for unpackaged Westpac Group employees.

Since 2018, after a dispute was raised by the FSU about personal/carer’s leave under the enterprise agreement, when an unpackaged employee took a day of sick leave, they were entitled to be paid for all the hours they would have worked instead of just 7.6 hours.

This is because prior to the dispute 12 days personal/carer’s leave was equivalent to and capped at 91.2 hours per year (12 days x 7.6 hours).

But after the FSU argued with Westpac that the decisions of the Fair Work Commission said that a day of personal/carer’s leave should not be capped at 7.6 hours because this would disadvantage shiftworkers or employees who work compressed hours, Westpac agreed to not apply a cap of 91.2 hours of personal/carer’s leave per year.

Appeal to the High Court

The situation has changed again now after a recent decision of the High Court. In its decision, the High Court said that one day of personal/carer’s leave is not the equivalent of one ‘working’ day, it is the equivalent of one-tenth of an employee’s ordinary hours of work in a two-week period, which equates to 7.6 hours per day and totalling 76 hours per year.

Impact on personal/carer’s leave under the Westpac Enterprise Agreement

Westpac, relying on the High Court decision, has decided to revert to the way it accrued and paid personal/carer’s leave before the dispute.

In the Westpac enterprise agreement, the personal/carer’s leave entitlement is 12 days per year, so employees are entitled to accrue and take the equivalent of 12 days of leave paid at 7.6 hours per day to a total of 91.2 hours per year.

Westpac didn’t have to go back to capping personal/carer’s leave at 91.2 hours per year, but says that its decision to do so complies with the enterprise agreement as well as the High Court decision.

Contact the FSU for more details on this important change, and how it may affect you. Email or call the Member Rights Centre on 1300 366 378.

Authorised by Julia Angrisano, National Secretary