Pub­li­ca­tions

Quirks in mod­ern awards #2: Five or six weeks’ annu­al leave under the Nurs­es Award 2010

The major­i­ty of employ­ees in Aus­tralia are cov­ered by an indus­try / occu­pa­tion spe­cif­ic mod­ern award. Whilst many of the awards con­tain sim­i­lar pro­vi­sions, in this series of occa­sion­al arti­cles we exam­ine unusu­al award claus­es which are some­times missed by employers.

Most mod­ern awards con­tain word­ing in rela­tion to annu­al leave along the fol­low­ing lines: Annu­al leave is pro­vid­ed for in the Nation­al Employ­ment Stan­dards”. This is a ref­er­ence to sec­tion 87 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) which pro­vides that employ­ees are enti­tled to four weeks annu­al leave, or five weeks in the case of cer­tain types of shiftworkers.

The Nurs­es Award 2010 cov­ers employ­ers in the health indus­try” (as defined) and those who employ a nurse/​midwife” (as defined).

Unlike most oth­er mod­ern awards, clause 31 of the Award pro­vides that employ­ees are enti­tled to an addi­tion­al week of annu­al leave. Clause 31.1(c) states: To avoid any doubt, this means that an employ­ee who is not a shift­work­er for the pur­pos­es of clause 31.1(b) above is enti­tled to five weeks of paid annu­al leave for each year of ser­vice with their employ­er, and an employ­ee who is a shift­work­er for the pur­pos­es of clause 31.1(b) above is enti­tled to six weeks of paid annu­al leave for each year of ser­vice with their employ­er.