Section K - Leave

Updated: 6 December 2016

59 Application and approval

59.1 Approval of leave (other than personal leave, compassionate leave or parental leave) is subject to operational requirements and the prior approval of the Electoral Commissioner.

59.2 The Electoral Commissioner's approval for personal leave, compassionate leave or parental leave is required wherever reasonably possible prior to the commencement of the leave, or in exceptional circumstances as soon as practicable thereafter.

60 Cancelled leave or recall to duty

60.1 If it is necessary for operational reasons, the Electoral Commissioner may cancel a period of approved leave or recall an Employee to duty from leave (except for periods of personal leave, compassionate leave or parental leave), and there will be no reduction in the Employee's leave credit in relation to the period cancelled or from which the Employee is recalled.

60.2 Where an Employee's leave is cancelled without reasonable notice, or an Employee is recalled to duty from leave, the Employee will be entitled to be reimbursed reasonable travel costs, travelling time, incidental expenses, and any other unavoidable costs arising from the cancellation or recall to duty where those costs are not otherwise recoverable under the Employee's insurance policy or from any other source.

61 Absences not counting for service

61.1 Unless otherwise approved by the Electoral Commissioner, any periods of absence due to either approved miscellaneous leave without pay or an unauthorised absence that does not count for service, which in any combination total 30 calendar days in aggregate in a calendar year, do not count for service for the accrual of annual leave or personal leave, except as required by legislation.

62 Annual leave

62.1 The entitlement to annual leave is as follows:

  1. annual leave will accrue at the rate of 20 working days (150 hours) per year for a full time Employee, and on a pro rata basis for part-time employees;
  2. annual leave accrues daily and is credited at the completion of each pay period;
  3. annual leave is cumulative;
  4. annual leave counts for service;
  5. full day absences on annual leave may be taken at half pay, which will result in the period of annual leave for which the Employee is absent being double the amount of leave deducted from the Employee's credits, provided that:
    1. the period of leave is equivalent to the Employees agreed weekly work pattern, with a minimum leave period of no less than one week; and
    2. the Employee does not have excess annual leave credits in accordance with clause 64.
  6. an Employee defined as a shift worker may be entitled to additional annual leave credits in accordance with Attachment 3;
  7. an Employee residing in a Remote Locality may be entitled to additional annual leave credits subject to clause 49;
  8. employees on workers' compensation leave will accrue annual leave in accordance with the relevant legislation; and
  9. unused annual leave credits are payable on termination of employment.

62.2 Subject to the Electoral Commissioner's prior approval, an Employee can return to work from a period of approved annual leave before the nominated return date and have the unused portion of their annual leave re-credited.

63 Annual leave cash out

63.1 The Electoral Commissioner and an Employee may enter into a separate written agreement to cash out an amount of the Employee's annual leave, provided the Employee has:

  1. taken at least three weeks of annual leave in the preceding 12 month period;
  2. not cashed out any annual leave in the preceding 12 month period; and
  3. has at least an accrued entitlement to paid annual leave of not less than 4 weeks after the cashing out amount.

63.2 The Employee will be paid the full amount that would have been paid, including allowances, had the Employee taken the entitlement as leave.

64 Excess annual leave

64.1 The Electoral Commissioner may approve Employees accumulating more than two years annual leave credits in exceptional circumstances only.

64.2 Subject to clause 64.1, and with reasonable notice, the Electoral Commissioner may direct an Employee with more than two years accrued annual leave credit to take up to one quarter of their annual leave credits held at the time of the direction.

64.3 An Employee who has more than two years accrued annual leave credit as a result of having an accepted worker's compensation claim, and who has commenced a graduated return to work program, will not be directed to take annual leave until at least three months after returning to their pre-injury hours of work.

65 Purchased leave

65.1 The Electoral Commissioner may grant approval, subject to operational requirements, for an ongoing Employee to purchase between one and four calendar weeks of leave in a year (Purchased Leave Period). For the avoidance of doubt, Employees with excess annual leave are not eligible to purchase leave.

65.2 Salary payments will be averaged over the year to ensure that a standard rate is received each fortnight, once a purchase is made. Purchased leave counts as service for all purposes. The Employee's Salary for superannuation purposes is their Salary as if they had not purchased leave.

65.3 Purchased leave will be re-credited for use in the same purchased leave accounting year where personal or miscellaneous leave with pay has been approved by the Electoral Commissioner to be used in lieu of an approved period of purchased leave. All or part of the period of purchased leave may be re-credited, provided the Employee supplies medical documentary evidence in accordance with clause 67.

65.4 If an Employee is unable to utilise the full amount of leave which they had purchased, an amount of Salary equal to the amount of remaining unused purchased leave will be paid to the Employee on the first available pay day after the completion of the Purchased Leave Period.

66 Personal leave

66.1 The entitlement to personal leave is as follows:

  1. personal leave will accrue at the rate of 18 days (135 hours) per year for a full time Employee, and on a pro-rata basis for part-time Employees;
  2. personal leave will be accrued daily and credited at the completion of each pay period;
  3. unused personal leave will accumulate but cannot be converted to Salary or cashed out under any circumstances; and
  4. personal leave at half pay may be accessed for absences of 10 working days or more in duration due to personal illness or injury of the Employee, provided that the Employee has five or more years of service. This will result in the period of personal leave for which the Employee is absent being double the amount of leave deducted from the Employee's credits.

66.2 An Employee is not entitled to paid personal leave while on paid parental leave (maternity, adoption or foster carer).

66.3 An ongoing employee newly engaged to the APS will receive 9 days (67.5 hours) personal leave at the time of engagement, or an equivalent calculated on a pro-rata basis for a part-time Employee. Once the Employee has completed service equivalent to the period required to accrue personal leave credits equal to 9 days the Employee will then accrue personal leave in accordance with clause 66.1 a) and b).

66.4 Subject to the employee having the available leave credits, paid personal leave is available to an Employee when they are absent because:

  1. the Employee is not fit for work because of a personal illness or personal injury; or
  2. the Employee will provide care or support to a member of the Employee's Immediate Family or Household who requires care or support because of:
    1. a personal illness or injury affecting the member; or
    2. an unexpected emergency affecting the member.

66.5 Subject to the employee having the available leave credits, and provided that the Employee maintains the minimum annual entitlement of 10 working days paid personal leave in accordance with the FWA (or the pro-rata equivalent for part-time employees), paid personal leave may also be accessed by an Employee when they are absent because:

  1. the Employee is caring for other persons for whom the employee has a primary caring responsibility because of:
    1. a personal illness or injury affecting the member; or
    1. an unexpected emergency affecting the member.
  2. the death of an Immediate Family or Household member; or
  3. an emergency in exceptional circumstances.

66.6 A maximum of 5 working days paid personal leave in a calendar year may be taken without requiring Evidence.

66.7 Unless otherwise agreed by the Electoral Commissioner, no more than five consecutive days of personal leave may be taken without Evidence.

66.8 An Employee who is on personal leave will not, without the Employee's consent, have their employment terminated before their personal leave credits have been exhausted, unless provided by legislation.

66.9 An Employee, who is retired on the grounds of medical invalidity and is subsequently re-engaged as a result of action taken under section 75 of the Superannuation Act 1976, is entitled to be credited with personal leave equal to the amount they were in credit at the time of retirement.

66.10 Subject to the provision of Evidence, an Employee may apply for personal leave while on long service leave, if any of the circumstances outlined in clause 66.4 or 66.5 apply. Long service leave will be re-credited in accordance with legislation.

66.11 Subject to the provision of Evidence, an Employee will not be taken to be on annual leave or purchased leave during any period that the Employee is eligible for another form of leave available under the National Employment Standards (except unpaid parental leave). Annual leave and/or purchased leave will be re-credited to the extent of the period of leave granted under the National Employment Standards. Purchased leave will be re-credited for use in the same purchased leave accounting year.

66.12 Where paid personal leave credits have been exhausted, an Employee is entitled to up to two days unpaid personal leave on each permissible occasion when a member of their Immediate Family or Household or to a person for whom the Employee has primary caring responsibility for requires care or support because of a personal illness, or personal injury, or an unexpected emergency affecting the member, where the Employee has provided satisfactory Evidence.

67 Provision of medical documentary evidence

67.1 Medical Certificates will be accepted for the purpose of personal illness, injury or caring responsibilities. Where it is not reasonably practicable to provide a Medical Certificate, a statutory declaration made by the Employee may be accepted.

67.2 Where a statutory declaration is made by the employee for personal leave due to illness or injury or for caring purposes, the statutory declaration must include:

  1. a statement to the effect that the Employee has been, is, or will be, unfit for work during the period because of a personal illness or injury; or
  2. a statement to the effect that the Employee is required to be absent for caring purposes; and
  3. a statement outlining the reason/s why it was not reasonably practical for the employee to obtain medical documentary evidence from a registered health practitioner.

67.3 An Employee who presents a Medical Certificate as evidence in support of their application for personal leave, in respect of personal illness or injury, shall be required by the Electoral Commissioner to be absent from the workplace until the conclusion of the period stated on the Medical Certificate. An Employee may present a subsequent Medical Certificate which declares that they are fit to return to the workplace, with or without restrictions on their capacity to undertake work, and following approval from the Electoral Commissioner, may make an earlier return to the workplace.

68 Compassionate/Bereavement leave

68.1 An Employee is entitled to three days paid compassionate/bereavement leave for each occasion that a member of their Immediate Family or Household:

  1. contracts or develops a personal illness or injury that poses a serious threat to that person's life; or
  2. following the death of that person.

68.2 Compassionate/bereavement leave may be taken as a single block of three days or as separate periods to the extent of the entitlement. Such leave may require the provision of satisfactory Evidence.

68.3 In addition, Employees may access personal leave credits for the purposes of compassionate/bereavement leave in accordance with clause 66.5.

69 Miscellaneous leave

69.1 The Electoral Commissioner, having regard to the personal circumstances of the Employee and the operational needs of the AEC, may grant an Employee miscellaneous leave at full or half pay or without pay.

69.2 Miscellaneous leave without pay may or may not count as service for any purpose, as determined on a case by case basis by the Electoral Commissioner.

69.3 Where an Employee is on annual leave or purchased leave and is granted miscellaneous leave with pay for compassionate or bereavement leave purposes, community service, or a reason associated with personal leave, their annual leave or purchased leave will be re-credited with the amount of miscellaneous leave with pay granted.

69.4 The Electoral Commissioner may require the provision of Evidence to support an application for miscellaneous leave.

70 Community service leave

70.1 In accordance with section 108 to 112 of the FWA, requests for leave to participate in community service activities, including voluntary emergency management activities and jury service summons, will be approved.

70.2 The Electoral Commissioner will determine whether any or all of the leave for community service activities will be with pay.

70.3 An Employee will be granted community service leave with pay for an Employee undertaking jury service, however, the Electoral Commissioner may request the provision of satisfactory Evidence of jury service before granting this leave.

70.4 An Employee who is on leave for the purpose of jury service is not eligible to receive juror's fees paid by the court, with the exception of an amount that is, or that is in the nature of, an expense-related allowance.

70.5 The Electoral Commissioner may also grant leave without pay to an Employee to participate in regular training, ceremonial duties, or reasonable rest time associated with an eligible community service activity.

71 Long service leave

71.1 Access to, and accrual of, long service leave is prescribed under the Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976.

71.2 When granting long service leave, the following will apply:

  1. long service leave is debited in whole calendar days (and includes weekends and public holidays that fall during the period of leave);
  2. the minimum period for which long service leave will be granted is seven calendar days at full pay or 14 calendar days at half pay; and
  3. long service leave cannot be broken by any other periods of leave, except as provided by legislation.

72 Parental leave

Maternity leave

72.1 The eligibility and entitlement to 52 weeks, of which up to 12 weeks may be paid, maternity leave is prescribed by the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976.

72.2 An Employee may elect to spread the payment for maternity leave up to a period of 24 weeks at a rate of half of their normal Salary.

72.3 Maternity leave that extends beyond the initial 12 week period does not count as service (except for superannuation purposes).

Adoption leave/foster care leave

72.4 Subject to the relevant provisions of this clause, an Employee who:

  1. has at least 12 months continuous APS service; and
  2. provides documentary Evidence of approval for adoption of a child or approval for care of a Foster Child; and
  3. will be the primary carer of that child

is entitled to up to 12 weeks paid leave for the purposes of adopting the child (adoption leave) or fostering the child (foster care leave).

72.5 The Electoral Commissioner may give approval to an Employee, in advance, to spread the payment for the 12 week period of absence to a maximum period of 24 weeks at a rate no less than half normal salary. Only the first 12 week period will count as service.

72.6 Adoption leave/foster care leave is available from one month prior to the date of placement of a child who has not previously lived with the Employee for a continuous period of 6 months or more, and must commence within 8 weeks of the child being adopted/fostered.

72.7 The Electoral Commissioner may approve an additional period of adoption leave/foster care leave so that an Employee may care for an adopted/fostered child up to a maximum period of 52 weeks (including the period of paid leave).

72.8 The additional period of adoption leave/foster care leave will be without pay and will not count as service for any purpose, unless the Electoral Commissioner determines otherwise.

Parenting support leave

72.9 An ongoing employee who has parental responsibilities following the birth of a child, or placement of an adopted/fostered child, will be granted 10 working days of paid parental support leave.

72.10 This leave must be taken within the first 12 months following the birth, adoption or fostering of a child and, if applicable, taken consecutively with paid parental leave (maternity, adoption or foster carer).

72.11 Parenting support leave can be taken at half-pay and will count as service for all other purposes.

Accessing paid personal leave

72.12 Subject to clause 72.14, Employees may access 10 working days of paid personal leave for parenting support purposes for the birth or adoption of a child.

72.13 This leave must be taken within 12 months of the birth or adoption of that child.

72.14 An Employee may only access paid personal leave for parenting support purposes if at the time of applying for the leave they will maintain at least the minimum annual entitlement of 10 working days of paid personal leave (or the pro-rata equivalent for part-time employees).

72.15 This leave will count as service where the Employee has sufficient accruals.

73 Unpaid parental leave

73.1 An Employee with at least 12 months continuous service is entitled to up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave if:

  1. the leave is associated with the birth of avchild of the Employee or the Employee's Spouse/De facto Partner; or
  2. the placement of a child with the Employee forvadoption or fostering; and
  3. the Employee has, or will have, responsibility forvthe care of the child.

73.2 Where this leave is taken in addition to paid parental leave, the combined total of parental leave (both paid and unpaid) will not exceed 12 months, in accordance with relevant legislation.

73.3 Taking unpaid parental leave does not prevent an Employee from accessing other kinds of paid leave (other than paid personal leave, compassionate leave or community service leave (other than for jury service)), except as provided for by legislation. If the Employee does so, the taking of the other paid leave does not break the continuity of the period of unpaid parental leave.

74 Extending unpaid parental leave

74.1 An Employee may request the Electoral Commissioner agree to extend unpaid parental leave for a further period of up to 12 months immediately following the end of the available parental leave period. The request must be in writing and submitted to the Electoral Commissioner at least four weeks before the end of the available parental leave period.

74.2 The Electoral Commissioner will respond to a request within 21 days of receipt of the request, either granting or rejecting the request. The Electoral Commissioner may only reject a request on reasonable business grounds. If the request is rejected, reasons for the decision must be provided to the Employee at the time of the initial response by the Electoral Commissioner in writing.

75 Return to work after parental leave

75.1 On ending parental leave, Employees have the return to work guarantee and the right to request flexible working arrangements that are provided by the FWA.

76 Defence reservists leave

76.1 Upon proper application, the Electoral Commissioner may grant an Employee defence reservist leave (with or without pay) to enable the Employee to fulfil Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reserve and Continuous Full Time Service (CFTS) or Cadet Force obligations.

76.2 An Employee must notify the Electoral Commissioner at the earliest opportunity once the dates for ADF reserve, CFTS or Cadet Force activities are known and/or changed.

76.3 The provision of 20 working days per calendar year on full pay is available to defence reservists fulfilling service in the ADF reserve, including training and operational duty. These 20 days can be accumulated and taken over a period of two calendar years to enable an Employee to undertake training.

76.4 An additional two weeks non-accumulative paid leave will be granted to allow for an Employee to attend recruit or initial employment training during the first year of ADF reserve service.

76.5 An Employee is not required to pay their tax free ADF reserve salary to the AEC in any circumstances.

76.6 An Employee who is an officer or instructor of cadets in a Cadet Force may be granted paid leave of up to three weeks each financial year (non-accumulative) to perform duties as an officer or instructor of Cadets. For these purposes 'Cadet Force' means the Australian Navy Cadets, Australian Army Cadets, or the Australian Air Force Cadets.

76.7 Defence reservists leave counts as service for all purposes, except for unpaid leave to undertake CFTS. Unpaid leave for the purpose of CFTS counts for all purposes except Annual Leave.

76.8 Defence reservists will continue to have access to the components of their remuneration package during periods of CFTS, for example: superannuation (subject to the rules of the CSS, PSS and Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme) and salary packaging.

76.9 An eligible Employee may also apply for annual leave, long service leave, miscellaneous leave, or make up time, for the purpose of fulfilling ADF Reserve, CFTS or Cadet Force obligations with the approval of the Electoral Commissioner. An Employee at the APS 1–6 Classification may use the flextime provisions for this purpose.

77 War service sick leave

77.1 The Electoral Commissioner will grant war service sick leave to an Employee who is unfit for duty because of a war-caused or defence-caused condition.

77.2 A war caused condition means an injury or disease of an Employee that has been determined under the relevant legislation to be war-caused or defence-caused.

77.3 Eligible employees will accrue a special credit of nine weeks on commencement in the APS and an annual credit of three weeks for each year of APS service. Unused credits will accumulate to a maximum of nine weeks.

78 Portability of leave

78.1 Where an Employee moves (including on promotion or for an agreed period) from another agency where they were an ongoing APS employee, the Employee's unused accrued annual leave and personal leave (however described) will be transferred, provided that there is no break in continuity of service.

78.2 Where an Employee is engaged as either an ongoing or non-ongoing APS Employee immediately following a period of ongoing employment in the Parliamentary Service (under the Parliamentary Service Act 1999) or the ACT Government Service, the Employee's unused accrued annual leave and personal leave (however described) will be recognised.

79 Unauthorised absence

79.1 Where an Employee is absent from work without approval, all salary and entitlements (including leave accrual) provided under this Agreement will cease to be available until the Employee resumes work or is approved to take leave for the period of the absence.