[Expert Hours] Join us on March 20th: Maximize Time Off While Ensuring Legal Compliance Register Now

Australia Leave Laws & Holidays

Paid Time Off, Vacation Days (Annual Leave), Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Bereavement Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Military Leave, and Voting Leave

Table Of Contents

Last updated on January 18, 2024.

Paid Time Off (PTO) in Australia

Annual Leave Quota (Vacation)

20 days of paid leave (4 weeks).

Annual leave, or vacation, is also called holiday pay in Australia.

All employees (including full time and part-time employees) are entitled to up to 4 weeks of paid annual leave (20 days), or 5 weeks if they are shift workers. This entitlement is prorated for part-time employees based on the number of hours they work. Casual employees, who often have flexible work agreements or are paid hourly, are not covered by this legislation. 

Besides holiday pay, employees are also entitled to public holidays


Employees start accruing annual leave entitlements from their first day of work, and they can take their accumulated leave as soon as they have accrued it. Annual leave accumulates when employees are on any kind of paid leave, doing community service, or on jury duty. It doesn’t accumulate on any sort of unpaid leave (sick leave, parental leave, etc.) 

Roll over 

Employees are allowed to roll over (carry over) unused leave from one year to the next. 

Payment of Accrued, Unused Vacation on Termination 

When an employee’s employment is terminated, the employer is required to compensate the employee for any annual leave entitlements that they have accrued but not taken. 


Annual leave in Australia is paid by the employer. 

Long Service Leave is a type of paid leave entitlement (typically around 8.67 weeks) that is available to employees who have worked for the same employer for a specified period of time. The entitlement is unique to Australia and is usually granted after 10 years of continuous service with the same employer, although this may vary depending on the state legislation. 

Sick Leave in Australia

Sick and Carer’s Leave 

10 days of paid and 2 days of unpaid leave. 

Full-time employees are entitled to 10 days of paid sick and carer’s leave. Part-time employees are also entitled, and their leave is prorated (calculated as 1/26 of their regular working hours). Casual employees or contractors are excluded from this entitlement but can ask for 2 days of unpaid carer’s leave. 

This leave is also called personal and carer’s leave. 

Sick (personal) leave is for an employee’s own illness or injury. 

Carer’s (caregiver) leave is when an employee takes time off to care for a close family member who is ill or injured, or to deal with a family emergency. 

Employees start to accrue sick and carer’s leave from the first day of work. Employees continue to accrue leave when they are on any sort of paid leave, but don’t accrue when they are on unpaid leave. 

An employee is allowed to roll over unused sick/carer’s leave from one year to the following. 

An employer may ask for proof to provide evidence of their illness or injury or the need to provide care or support, such as a medical certificate. 

If an employee exhausts their sick and carer’s leave, they can take 2 days of unpaid carer’s leave

Paid sick and carer’s leave is not cashed out at the end of employment. 


Sick and carer’s leave in Australia is paid by an employer. 

Maternity, Paternity, Adoption, and Parental Leave in Australia

Mothers and fathers in Australia are entitled to both unpaid and paid parental leave. 

Unpaid Parental Leave

Up to 24 months of unpaid parental leave. 

Parents are entitled to unpaid parental leave if: 

  • an employee gives birth (aka maternity leave
  • an employee’s spouse or de facto partner* gives birth (aka paternity leave
  • an employee adopts a child under 16 (aka adoption leave

All employees who have worked for the employer for at least 1 year are eligible for parental leave. This includes full-time, part-time, and casual employees. 

Eligible employees can take the: 

  • 12 months of unpaid parental leave
  • an additional 12 months of unpaid leave

Parental leave can be split between both parents, for example, both parents can take 12 months each, or a mother can take 20 months and the father can take 4 months. 

Employees who are adopting a child are also allowed to take 2 days of unpaid pre-adoption leave, in order to attend relevant interviews or examinations. However, the employer can direct the employee to use a different type of leave instead of pre-adoption leave, such as paid annual leave. 

20 paid weeks (from 1 July 2023) for the mother and 2 paid weeks for the father. 

Eligible employees can have part of their parental leave covered with Parental Leave Pay (PLP) or Dad and Partner Pay (DaPP). Both PLP and DaPP are paid by the Australian Government. 

Parental Leave Pay

Parental Leave Pay is intended for the primary carer of a newborn or adopted child

An eligible employee can receive up to 18 weeks of PLP, for a child born or adopted before 1 July 2023. 

However, eligible employees receive up to 20 weeks (100 days) of PLP, for a child born or adopted after 1 July 2023.  

In 2024, the current daily rate for Parental Leave Pay is $176.55 before tax, or a weekly rate (for a five day week) of $882.75. Generally, the rate of Parental Leave Pay is adjusted annually in July.

To be qualified for Parental Leave Pay, an employee must meet these requirements: 

  • an income test (earn under a certain limit – an adjusted taxable income of $156,647 or less in the 2021-22 financial year) 
  • a work test (you need to have worked for both 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption of your child and a minimum of 330 hours, around one day a week, in those 10 months) 
  • residency rules (you must be living in Australia and have one of the following: Australian citizenship, a permanent visa, a Special Category visa, or a certain temporary visa) 

Nota Bene: Starting 1 July 2024, there will be changes to Paid Parental Leave. These changes will apply to parents with children born or adopted after this date.

Dad and Partner Pay

An eligible employee can receive payment for up to 2 weeks

Dad and Partner Pay is intended for: 

  • the biological father 
  • the birth mother’s partner 
  • an adoptive parent 
  • the partner of an adoptive parent 
  • the person caring for a child born of a surrogacy arrangement 


Maternity/paternity leave in Australia is paid by the Australian Government

Parental Leave Pay/Dad and Partner Pay is $882.75 per week before tax (based on the weekly rate of the national minimum wage). This amount increases every year on 01 July.

Bereavement Leave in Australia (Compassionate Leave)

2 days of paid compassionate leave.      

Bereavement leave in Australia is known as compassionate leave

An employee is entitled to 2 paid days of compassionate leave if a close family member or someone in their household experiences a life-threatening illness or injury, or dies. This also applies if a stillbirth or miscarriage occurs within their close family or household, or if their spouse or de facto partner has a miscarriage. 

Casual employees can only obtain unpaid compassionate leave.

Jury Duty Leave in Australia

Employees are entitled to paid leave during their jury service. 

All employers must allow their employees to take time off work to attend jury duty if they are summoned to do so.     


During the first 10 days of jury duty, employees are entitled to receive ‘make-up pay’. This means that the employer must pay the employee the difference between the payment they receive from the court for jury duty and their normal pay rate for the hours they would have worked if they had not been on jury duty. 

Military Leave in Australia

Not specified by law. 

Voting Leave in Australia

Employers must provide employees with sufficient time to vote

Employers are required to provide employees with paid leave on election day. However, if an employee’s shift starts 3 hours after the polls open or finishes 3 hours before they close, they are not eligible for leave. 


Voting leave in Australia is paid by the employer. 

Public Holidays in Australia for 2024

Public holidays in Australia are different and depend on the state or territory. There are 8 states and territories in Australia: Australian Capital Territories, New South Wales, Northern Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia.

However, there are 7 legal national holidays that are observed in every state:

Date Holiday
January 1, Moday New Year’s Day
January 26, Friday Australia Day
March 29, Friday Good Friday
April 1, Monday Easter Monday
April 25, Thursday Anzac Day
December 25, Wednesday Christmas Day
December 26, Thursday Boxing Day

In addition to these holidays each state has its own public holidays that are observed.

For a complete list of official holidays recognized and celebrated by each state in Australia, please visit the official site of the Australian Government.  


  1. Local Laws & Regulations in Australia, https://www.atlashxm.com/en/countries/australia
  2. Payroll and Benefits Guide Australia, https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/australia/
  3. Definitive Guide to Hiring in Australia, https://www.globalexpansion.com/countrypedia/australia
  4. All about Annual Leave, https://employsure.com.au/guides/annual-leave-and-other-leave/

Check out our Leave Laws page to learn more about laws in various countries.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.

Get the latest leave tracking updates

Join our monthly newsletter featuring curated HR content, with a special focus on leave tracking.

You have subscribed successfully.

Loved by teams at

  • vault
  • ridemovi
  • payable
  • ignitedata
  • basecoat