Employees in Australia can double their annual leave in a new proposal

Employees could apply for more work flexibility at the expense of their pay in a new plan supported by employers and unions.
By: | April 18, 2024

Employees in Australia can choose to double the annual leave that is entitled to them: but at half pay.

This is what a new plan supported by The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), plans to do, to grant employees more leave for caregiving and personal mental health days.

Natasha Hawker, Managing Director of Employee Matters, has explained this decision as a solution for parents looking to counter the costliness of daycare and other activities and employees who may need help and more days to manage their mental health issues.

However, Hawker has admitted that this scheme could pose an issue for small businesses, with the ACCI cautioning that smaller employers should also have the right to deny an employee’s request for leave at half pay. Yet, Hawker has also opined that the increased flexibility of employees being able to choose when and how to work could help retention and productivity between employers and employees.

“This is an opportunity for businesses to go ‘hey, are we doing these roles as smartly as we could?”’ Hawker said. “We need to take that as an opportunity, ‘hey, maybe we could do this role differently. Could AI do it?’ That’s another example.”

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In addition to more flexible leave work arrangements, a proposal is currently being considered by some of the country’s biggest employers, which seeks to give hundreds of thousands of employees working in retail five weeks of annual leave.

Employers that are on board with the proposal being pushed by Shop, Distributive, and Allied Employees Associations (SDA), a retail union include Bunnings Warehouse and IKEA. Other big employers considering the proposal include Coles, Woolworths and Kmart, reported 7News.