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.”