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What Is The Difference Between Personal Leave And Annual Leave?


Personal leave is a minimum entitlement of a maximum of ten days off per year for a full time worker if they need it. Part time employees are also entitled to personal leave, they get a pro rata amount of this as personal leave days. In other words, personal leave makes up 1/26th of the amount of hours an employee works. If employees don’t use up all of their personal leave in one year, it mostly carries over to the next year (with the exception of family and domestic violence leave).

Personal leave is available to permanent workers and paid in the following circumstances;

  • Sick leave - when an employee is not fit for work because they are so unwell due to injury or illness. This includes pregnancy related illness.  
  • Carer’s leave – if they have to care for an immediate family member or person in their household because that person has an injury, illness or emergency befall them.
  • Compassionate leave – this can be taken should an immediate member of the employee’s family or household pass away or suffer a life threatening illness or injury.

Both casual workers and permanent employees are entitled to;

  • unpaid compassionate leave,
  • unpaid carer’s leave
  • unpaid family and domestic violence leave

Annual leave is available to all permanent employees, and is a minimum of 4 weeks duration for a full time worker and is pro rata for a part time employee. An exception applies to shiftworkers, who are entitled to 5 weeks of annual leave.

Personal and annual leave are also paid out differently. if an employee doesn’t use up their annual leave by the time they leave their place of employment, unused annual leave is paid out to them. Whereas, personal leave is only paid out to an employee if this is covered in a separate agreement or under their Modern Award.

Justine is a legal consultant at Sprintlaw. She has experience in civil law and human rights law with a double degree in law and media production. Justine has an interest in intellectual property and employment law.

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