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Compassionate Leave: What to do when it’s time to show compassion

July 21, 2016


They say that there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes. You’ll be pleased to learn that you don’t have to give your workers a day off to fill out their tax return! But what do you do when someone needs time away from work because their partner has been diagnosed with a terminal illness? Or because they are grieving the loss of a loved one?

What Compassionate Leave are employees entitled to?

Compassionate Leave is separate from other leave entitlements, such as Personal / Carer’s Leave and Annual Leave. There is no limit on how much Compassionate Leave can be taken in a year, rather it is dependent on circumstances.

An employee may take up to 2 days of compassionate leave for each occasion when a member of his or her immediate family, or a member of their household either:

  1. Contracts or develops a personal illness that poses a serious threat to his or her life
  2. Sustains a personal injury that poses a serious threat to his or her life
  3. Dies

It is paid at the base rate of pay for those workers engaged on a full time or a part time basis, and may be taken as unpaid leave for casual employees.

Compassionate Leave notice and evidence requirements

An employee must tell you if they intend to take Compassionate Leave. This should occur as soon as possible. They should inform you of the reason for taking the leave and provide details of how long they intend to be absent for.

Some businesses also require evidence from the employee to support their reasons for taking leave. The obligation is on you to request evidence, if you require it.

It is therefore essential that you have a comprehensive Leave Policy which outlines what you expect someone to do when they intend to take a period of leave and what evidence, if any, you require them to provide.

For more information on leave entitlements and what this means for your business, clients should contact the HR Assured team. If you’d like more information about the benefits of becoming an HR Assured client contact us today.