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Managing Staff Leave

2 Lessons None

About this course

We know this situation too well – you are closing the Practice to take a break, a holiday with the family, or just to rest over Christmas. What to do with your staff? Do they need to be paid? You take a big gulp and realise your staff will be getting an extra paid holiday at the same time, in addition to accrued annual leave. The good news is – this can be avoided.

1.Note this only applies to permanent staff because casuals are not entitled to paid annual leave.

2.First understand the Award.  There are 4 options under the Award for dealing with staff wages during periods of shutdowns:

  • Direct Employee to take annual leave. Under clause 31.4 if there is sufficient leave accrued staff can be required (i.e. you direct them) to take annual leave during periods of shutdown such as Christmas, Easter, or where closed over school holidays. Therefore when shutdown you can require your Employee to take accrued annual leave. You must direct them to do this, which is best done in writing, including by email.
  • Leave in advance. Under clause 31.3 you can direct staff to take paid annual leave in advance. This causes some risk because if the Employee leaves before the advance leave accrues, they will have been paid for nothing. However if you have a trustworthy, longstanding Employee and feel this will be motivating and a win-win situation (i.e. such as a practice manager who needs the income to pay her children’s’ school fees or otherwise) you may elect to use this option. Again the direction must be given and is best done in writing, including email.
  • Time bank. Under clause 28.3 you can seek written agreement from Employees to utilise the time bank. If you are using ClinLegal’s contract then you already have your Employee’s agreement to use the time bank so a separate written agreement is not required. Time bank provides flexibility and can save money. If your Employee works overtime, you will not need to pay overtime. The hours are banked and can be used (and paid at ordinary time rate) at a later time by agreement of the parties. This only applies to permanent staff and IF the affected Employee has accrued hours in the time bank, you can seek their agreement to apply to use the accrued hours when shutdown.

This provides flexibility where you or the Employees want to use paid annual leave at other times (i.e. Christmas holidays) and where your Employee wants to be paid over periods of shutdown. You must properly document the application of time bank hours, for assistance see ClinLegal’s “Application for Leave” form in the ClinLegal packages.

  • Averaging hours. Under clause 23.1 you are entitled to average your Employees hours over 4 weeks as articulated in ClinLegal’s contract. Subject to some Award limitations (i.e. max hours per day etc as on clause 23.2 of the Award (See also clauses 24.1, 24.2, 24.3 a & b, and 24.4)) you can roster your Employee to do their hours in the weeks before or after the period of shutdown. For example if you are closed for week 3 of 4, your Employee can be rostered to do their ordinary hours during weeks 1, 2 and 4.

3.Be proactive.  In addition to the above options, if your Employee signs ClinLegal’s contract before starting work, then in signing the contract your Employee has agreed to take leave without pay during periods of shutdown if there is insufficient outstanding annual leave. If your Employee does not have accrued annual leave to take, and you do not want to pay leave in advance, and you do not use or there is no available time bank, then you need separate agreement from your Employee to take leave without pay otherwise you will have to pay your Employee despite them not working.

4.If you use ClinLegal’s contract  – you will already have your Employee’s agreement to take leave without pay. This can be processed using ClinLegal’s “Leave Application” form and must be documented.

5.If you do not use ClinLegal’s contracts  – then you will need to seek separate written agreement from your Employee which could be tricky as of course your Employee would prefer an extra paid holiday!

TIP: It is best practice to formalise the contract prior to commencement of employment, rather than deal with individual issues as they arise. Use ClinLegal’s contract as we have it covered.

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Managing Staff Leave

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