Are you being directed to take annual leave at Christmas?
Depending on your Enterprise Agreement and some additional factors, your Employer may or may not be able to direct you to take leave over the Christmas period.
Victorian Public Sector Agreement
The Fair Work Act (FWA) states that Employers can require an Employee to take annual leave IF the Award or Enterprise Agreement that applies to them provides for it.
The Victorian Public Sector Agreement that applies to Health Professionals does not provide Employers with a general ability to direct an Employee to take annual leave due to a Christmas shut-down.
However the Agreement does allow Employers to direct an Employee to take “excessive” annual leave. Excessive accrued annual leave is regarded as more than 304 hours (pro-rata for part-time Employees). Where an Employee does have more than 304 hours accrued, their Employer can direct them to take up to one quarter of their accrued annual leave entitlement by giving them 13 weeks notice.
It may suit many Health Professionals covered by the Victorian Public Sector Agreement to take annual leave over the Christmas period. However, you can’t be compelled to take annual leave unless you have more than 304 hours of annual leave accrued and you are given 13 weeks notice that you are required to take up to one quarter of your accrued annual leave.
Other Enterprise Agreements and Awards that apply to Health Professionals allow Employers to direct Employees to take annual leave in certain circumstances.
Some of the more common circumstances in which you may be able to be directed to take annual leave include:
- When you have accrued more than a certain amount of annual leave – for example when you have 8 weeks or more accrued annual leave.
- During a shut-down period – for example if a business shuts-down between Christmas and New Year.
- Due to low activity – for example there are so few patients in a hospital at a specific time that the normal level of staffing is not required to provide care to them.
Often where your Employer can direct you to take annual leave, certain notice must be given to you or you must be consulted on this.
If your Employer has directed you to take annual leave and you don’t wish to, please contact the VHPA for advice on whether you can be compelled to take annual leave.