It is always a difficult time when an employee loses a loved one, with sensitivity and compassion obviously high on the list of things to consider. But it’s also important to be aware of the entitlements of an employee in this situation, so to help make the time as stress free as it can be.
As per the Fair Work Act 2009, full and part time employees are entitled to two days paid compassionate leave (also known as bereavement leave), any time a member of an employee’s immediate family or household dies or develops a life-threatening illness or injury. Casual employees are also entitled to the leave, but it is unpaid.
The following are considered to be an employee’s immediate family:
- Current or former spouse
- Current or former de facto partner
- A child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee’s current or former spouse or de facto partner
- Step and adoptive family members in any of the above categories
Along with these family members, the entitlement also applies to any member of the employee’s household.
The two days can either taken as a single continuous period, separate periods of one day each, or however the employer and employee agree for the two days to be taken. Full and part time employees are entitled to payment at their base rate of pay for the ordinary hours that they would have worked during the two days of leave.
It is important to note that the hours are not to be deducted from either the annual or personal leave balance of the employee, nor does compassionate leave accrue. It is an entitlement that can be used at any time the employee requires it.
If you are unsure about your employee’s compassionate entitlements or any other entitlements, Australian Payroll Association is here to help. Membership with Australian Payroll Association entitles you to access to our members portal reference information, along with our help desk services. More information is available here.