What do you do when your employees have the flu?


Winter is here, and so are the dreaded cold and flu. So, what do you do when all your employees are sick in bed? Here’s what you need to know when it comes to sick leave.

What is sick leave?

Sick and carer’s leave allows an employee to take time off to deal with personal illness, caring responsibilities or family emergencies. It can be used when an employee is sick or injured, or if an employee needs to take time off to care for an immediate family or household member. This type of leave can also be known as personal leave.


Who is entitled to sick leave?

All employees (except casuals) receive paid sick leave every year. Full-time employees receive 10 days paid leave, and part-time employees receive 10 days’ pro rata, depending on hours worked. Casual employees can access unpaid carer’s leave.


Any employee who is paid commission or piece rates and are not covered by a WA award is not entitled to paid sick leave.


An employee may take unpaid sick leave if they are not fit for work due to illness or injury. It is important to keep in mind that you cannot terminate an employee if they have taken less than three months’ sick leave, or if they provide evidence of their illness or injury.


The balance of sick leave at the end of the year (how much leave the employee didn’t take) carries over to the next year. Employees start accruing paid sick leave from their first day of work, and accrue sick leave at a rate of 1.461 hours per 38-hour week worked. Some WA awards allow for annual leave to be used when paid sick/carers’ leave runs out.


What happens when an employee resigns or is terminated?

Unlike annual leave, any accrued sick leave will not be paid out to the employee upon termination. The types of leave that can be paid out are:

  • Outstanding wages for hours worked
  • Accumulated annual leave
  • Annual leave loading, accrued or pro rata long service leave or redundancy pay.


Keep in mind that employees taking sick leave is not necessarily a bad thing – one employee being sick at work can lead to many others falling ill, and decrease productivity and concentration. Better to have your employees safe and sick at home, than run the risk of them injuring themselves or others in the workplace.


For more information on sick leave entitlements, contact us on (08) 9316 9896 or enquiries@processworx.com.au.

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