Annual Leave Leave & Loading for Small Business Owners

by Caity Wynn, · 3 minutes
HOME blog 6 questions every small business owner staff annual leave leave loading

What you always wanted to know about staff annual leave and loading, but were afraid to ask

Managing staff annual leave, especially over the Christmas holidays can be a challenging task for any manager. But getting staff holidays and leave loading pay right is important – it keeps staff happy and your expenses under control. In this article, we answer some of the most common leave questions.

Q: It’s such a busy time of year and a lot of my team are working more shifts during the busy season. What are the rules around overtime?

A: Overtime is usually paid at a higher rate and is designed to make up for the employee normally working longer hours or on less desirable workdays, such as the weekend. It can include work done:

  • Beyond their ordinary hours of work
  • Outside the agreed number of hours
  • Outside the spread of ordinary hours

These extra hours are performed outside what an award or an agreement list as ordinary hours, and varies across industries. It’s important to know when overtime applies for your staff, or you could be found to be in breach of work regulations.

Q: I manage full time, part time and casual employees, who is entitled to annual leave?

A: Annual leave, also known as holiday pay, is payable to all employees (except casual staff) and means they can have paid time off from work.

Entitlement to annual leave comes from the National Employment Standards (NES).

Full-time and part-time employees get 4 weeks of annual leave, based on their ordinary hours of work.

Q: There are so many public holidays during December and January, what’s the deal with public holidays?

A: Public holidays vary from state to state and it’s important to know them because employees can get different entitlements on those days.

The Fair Work Commission has a handy entitlement calculator to help you calculate your staff entitlements.

Q: I had a staff member ask me about cashing out their annual leave, what is it?

A: Cashing out annual leave is where an employee receives a payment instead of taking time off work. It’s important to note, annual leave can only be cashed out when an award or registered agreement allows it and there are rules around cashing out annual leave:

  • There must be a written agreement
  • An employee needs to have at least 4 weeks annual leave leftover
  • You can’t force or pressure an employee to cash out annual leave
  • The payment for cashed out annual leave has to be the same as what the employee would have been paid if they took the leave

You can learn more about cashing out annual leave on the Fair Work website.

Q: I get so many employees taking sickies over the holiday period, can I withhold sick leave pay until they provide a medical certificate?

A: Only if it’s reasonable, including:

  • The period of sick leave is 2 or more consecutive working days, or,
  • There is a pattern of taking sick leave days before or after weekends of public holidays.

Q: I have different staff on different rates of pay and I’m struggling to get the payments right, what can I do to make this task easier?

A: Deputy has a premium function called Award interpretation, which is a custom system created by Xero and Deputy and allows users to pay:

  • Different rates for different days of the week
  • Different rates for different times of the day
  • Only a maximum or minimum number of hours
  • Certain rates if people are working in certain areas

Award Interpretation makes compliance with employment legislation easy, and in Australia we’ve pre-loaded the Hospitality Industry General Award (HIGA), Restaurant Industry Award (RIA), Fast Food Industry Award (FFIA) and the General Retail Industry Award (GRIA) for all your full-time, part-time and casual staff.

Have you got another leave question you’d like answered? Find out how Deputy can make your life easier so you can get you back to loving your business again. Get in touch with our friendly team today on 1300 DEPUTY.

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"Fantastic intuitive time keeping software which works hand in hand with Xero."
Andrew Huntley
Director, Kenney Medical Solutions
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